In W41 in the maize (corn) landscape, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported corn production for 2023/24 has been lowered to 15.064 billion bushels , down 70 million bushels. The corn yield estimate was reduced by 0.8 bushels/acre to 173 bushels/acre, resulting in a production decrease of 70 million bushels. Ending stocks for the 2023/24 crop were lowered by 110 million bushels , to 2.111 billion bushels, with a carryover of old-crop ending stocks reduced by 91 million bushels, essentially bringing the new-crop beginning stocks to 1.361 billion bushels. The farmgate price for the 2023/24 crop is projected at USD 4.95/ bushel, a USD 0.5/bushel month-on-month (MoM) increase.
Corn futures prices notably increased on the Chicago Stock Exchange (CBOT) due to a USDA supply and demand report predicting a smaller corn harvest. The report also indicated lower production and productivity projections for the 2023/24 corn harvest in the United States (US). Hot and dry weather during critical crop development stages in the US led to these revisions. The Dec-23 corn maturity on CBOT saw an 8-point increase, reaching USD 4.96/bushel.
Wheat prices, which rose nearly 3%, also contributed to the upturn in corn prices. These changes have brought a recovery to the corn futures market following recent lows observed over the past three years. While these revisions may not represent a fundamental shift, they have raised concerns among short investors. The USDA now estimates the US corn harvest at 382.65 million tons, down from 384.42 million tons in Sep-23, with productivity decreasing to 180.97 bags per hectare (ha), compared to 181.81 bags/ha in the previous report. Market expectations had been set at 383.82 million tons of production and productivity at 181.49 bags/ha.
Brazilian corn prices on the São Paulo Commodities Exchange (B3) ended W41 with slight drops but recorded weekly gains, driven by expectations of increased exports and a weaker local currency. Oct-23 has seen planned shipments of at least 10 million tons, potentially leading to a record year for exports, with some analysts suggesting the possibility of exporting up to 60 million tons of corn in 2023. On the Chicago Stock Exchange, corn prices for Dec-23 ended the day lower at USD 12.07 (BRL 60.70), while the Mar-24 contracts, relevant for Brazil's summer harvest, closed the week at USD 12.85 (BRL 64.61), down USD 0.040 (BRL 0.20) on the day but a USD 0.46 (BRL 2.32) week-on-week (WoW) increase.
Furthermore, in Brazil, weather challenges and regional disparities are impacting the planting progress of corn. In Minas Gerais, the start of corn planting has been slow, emphasizing the importance of an efficient beginning for crop quality. The Rio Grande do Sul faces challenges due to climate instability, which disrupts planting activities and affects established crops. Paraná and Santa Catarina experienced generous rainfall, benefiting newly planted crops but also delaying other planting activities. In some areas, excess moisture and limited sunlight impacted seed germination, potentially affecting final yields. Brazil's average planting progress is at 26.8%, in line with the previous harvest's pace. Regional variations exist, with northeastern states meeting their planting schedules while Goiás lags. Notable progress is seen in São Paulo and southern states like Paraná, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul, surpassing the previous harvest's figures. Minas Gerais also made gains, albeit still below last year's levels.