Strong export sales and robust ethanol demand have shifted sentiment over recent weeks from neutral/negative to positive in the corn market.
After closing above $4.30 last week, March corn futures traded up to $4.49 Monday morning before the USDA supply/demand report late Monday morning. Severe winter weather has played havoc with shipping and buoyed cash markets artificially as users have been forced to pay up for needed supply. It is my belief that once shipping returns to normal and China cancels outstanding sales; the fundamentals will once again shift normally.
China continues to reject a large portion of US corn imports but it appears that exporters have been able to rejections to other Asian destinations readily. Japan, South Korea, Mexico, and Spain have been larger importers than expected just a few months ago.
A BEARISH SIGNAL
The lower close after a bullish report on Monday’s supply and demand report from the USDA is a bearish signal. On paper, the USDA report was considered bullish against trade expectations as the USDA pegged 2013/14 ending stocks at just 1.481 billion bushels, compared with an average trade guess near 1.619 billion bushels and the 1.631 Billion bushels estimated last month.
The stocks number even came in below the range of estimates of 1.574- 1.748 billion bushels. Exports were revised up by 150 million bushels to 1.6 billion bushels, and the rest of the demand figures were left unchanged. Talk following the release was that feed and residual use remains too high.
Currently sales are at 91 percent of the USDA forecast, shipment however are only at 42 percent. The U.S. has currently 1.7 million tons of corn on the books with China which leaves the risk of cancellation despite that the aforementioned nations of Japan, South Korea, and Mexico have picked up the slack.
Simply put the bearish reaction to a bullish report means that traders simply don’t believe the numbers or are looking ahead to growing season. It is my view that the only way that corn could hold up would be from a strong rally in beans. Unless that happens I suggest the following trade.
Those who listened to my last trade recommendation to buy March corn futures just below 4.30 were rewarded if they went with the trade.
This time I am reversing course and suggesting that traders purchase the May Corn 4.30 put for 8 cents or $400.00 risk per option. The risk on the trade is the price paid for the options plus all commissions and fees.
For those interested Walsh Trading holds weekly grain webinars on Thursday’s at 3pm central time hosted by our Senior Grain analyst Tim Hannagan. Tim has been ranked #1 by Reuters and Bloomberg in 2011 and 2012 for his most accurate end of year price predictions for soybeans and corn. Registration is free and if you cannot attend live, a recording will be sent to your email upon signup.
RISK DISCLOSURE: THERE IS A SUBSTANTIAL RISK OF LOSS IN FUTURES AND OPTIONS TRADING. THIS REPORT IS A SOLICITATION FOR ENTERING A DERIVATIVES TRANSACTION AND ALL TRANSACTIONS INCLUDE A SUBSTANTIAL RISK OF LOSS. THE USE OF A STOP-LOSS ORDER MAY NOT NECESSARILY LIMIT YOUR LOSS TO THE INTENDED AMOUNT. WHILE CURRENT EVENTS, MARKET ANNOUNCEMENTS AND SEASONAL FACTORS ARE TYPICALLY BUILT INTO FUTURES PRICES, A MOVEMENT IN THE CASH MARKET WOULD NOT NECESSARILY MOVE IN TANDEM WITH THE RELATED FUTURES AND OPTIONS CONTRACTS.
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