Wittal: grain futures catch swine flu

Our online grain markets columnist Brian Wittal welcomes feedback and information on market conditions in your area, such as current offering prices, basis levels, trucking premiums and special crops contracts. Contact Brian today.

Swine flu! Who knew? Major market reaction or over-reaction to the swine flu outbreak sent grains tumbling today. Concerns that a drop in demand for pork will affect demand for feedstuffs like bean meal, which will in turn build inventories and push prices lower.

Markets are sensitive enough right now with weather concerns that a major potentially global issue such as the swine flu is bound to create some strong reaction in markets worldwide. Hopefully this market reaction will be tempered and rebalance itself in the near term.

Minneapolis wheat futures experienced losses but not near as deep as Chicago and Kansas wheat futures due to the underlying fact that continued seeding delays due to poor weather are helping to keep the Minneapolis future at a premium over the others. 

The Dow Jones closed down 53 points today.  The U.S. dollar finished up 9/10th of a cent, primarily due to the fact that investors are pulling funds out of other riskier ventures and putting it into the U.S. dollar in light if the flu epidemic and the uncertain economic impact this could have worldwide.

The Canadian dollar was down .81 today to close at US82.01. Concerns about bankruptcies in the Canadian auto sector pushed the dollar lower today. The lower dollar should help support canola futures but the drop in crude values will continue to pressure oil crops lower. Which one will be more dominant is the real question. Crude oil finished down $1.41, closing at US$50.14/barrel.

Corn finished down 4 to 6 cents per bushel, beans finished down 28 to 37 cents per bushel today, and wheat was down 6 to 25 cents.

Canola was down $7 to $8/t for the day, and barley finished down $.30/t closing at $135.70/t.

That’s all for today.

About the author



Brian Wittal

Brian Wittal has 30 years of grain industry experience and currently offers market planning and marketing advice to farmers through his company Pro Com Marketing Ltd.



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