Wittal: Tensions in Argentina support U.S. soy

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.

March 20 — Financial markets were under pressure today, as traders were no doubt stepping back from the markets heading into the weekend and were happy to take some profits after this week’s nice gains.

The Dow Jones closed down 122 points. The U.S. dollar rallied back three quarters of a cent, which also made traders a little shy. The Canadian dollar is down 0.1 cents and closed at US80.68 cents.

Crude oil finished mixed, with the nearby March futures down 55 cents to close at US$51.06 per barrel, while the forward futures finished up 20-60 cents per barrel.

Corn finished unchanged today, beans are up one to 12 cents a bushel and wheat is down four to six cents a bushel.

Canola is up $1-$6 per tonne, and barley finished unchanged over yesterday.

Tensions are building in Argentina between the government and farmers as they discuss the soybean export tax that the government is trying to implement once again. This is what led to the widespread strikes by farmers in Argentina last year which virtually shut down ports as no deliveries were made for a couple of months. This will be seen as supportive to U.S. soybean futures, especially if the farmers go on strike again to protest the tax.

No fresh news on the wheat and corn markets left futures unchanged to down slightly.

Corn hit resistance when it reached the $4 per bushel range, and a slowdown in wheat sales softened markets going into the weekend.

The Canadian Wheat Board announced delivery calls for 40 per cent on B series CWRS and CPSR wheat on Wednesday. Please contact your grain buyer about delivery opportunities and/or check the CWB website for further details on other grains.

Road bans are going on across the Prairie provinces this week and next, a sure sign that we are in for one or two more winter storms before spring. Enjoy the warm weather!

That’s all for this week. — Brian

— Brian Wittal has spent over 27 years in the grain industry, including as an elevator manager and producer services representative for Alberta Wheat Pool, a regional sales manager for AgPro Grain and farm business representative for the Canadian Wheat Board, where he helped design some of the new pricing programs. He also operates his own company providing marketing and risk management advice for Prairie grain producers. Brian’s daily commentaries focus on how domestic and world market conditions affect you directly as grain producers.

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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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