Markets improve modestly for the beginning of 2019

Soy prices spent most of the first trading day of the year stronger, until the market seemed to realize that there were no USDA reports to back anything up, and then it seemed to struggle to put a pin in the day.

The American shutdown of government has shuttered most of the USDA services that do the production and trade accounting in that country, a tool that most traders use extensively.

The day finished up for soybeans and soybean products and that lent support to canola, despite a rising Canadian dollar.

Globally, the grain trade was seeing higher than average and previous year exports. Ukraine has shipped 11.5 percent more than last year, including a stronger than average 359 million bushels of corn. Wheat in the 2018-19 crop year has been exported to the tune of 385 million bu., and higher than average barley trade has also been taking place, with 145 million bu. of that crop being shovelled out of the country.

Brazil saw its December shipments of soy rise dramatically, thanks to the United States’ fight with China. That also aided Brazilian corn sales, as those rose to 158 million bushels in December, up over an impressive December for 2017. The big ticket for that country was ethanol exports, up about 65 percent over the previous December.

Russia was selling corn as well, with a 65 percent boost for last month, as compared to any of the previous six, and has kept pace with last year’s exports when it comes to wheat, shipping about 125 million bu. for the crop year so far. Barley too has been selling well, with 14 million bu. sold in December.

Wheat was flat to up slightly in the Canadian market.

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