Corn Price Rise Will Slow, Then Decline

US - The recent run-up in the price of corn will slow and then decline, although how much is the question, according to Richard Brock, Brock Associates.
calendar icon 17 November 2010
clock icon 5 minute read

Mr Brock was speaking to feed ingredient purchasing managers at US Poultry & Egg Association's Grain Forecast and Economic Outlook Conference.

He said: "This week we saw the highest one-day volume in corn trading in history. Everyone is bullish right now, but this is not the time to be a panic buyer. Six months from now we'll have a surplus of six dollar corn."

Mr Brock believes that the current corn market is one that will "fall hard and fall fast" once it turns. The question is when and how much. But based on past history, he says that "big bull markets have always been followed by big bear markets". He recommends "buying enough to get through the spring because later next year will be a bear market". His farm price forecast for 2010/11 is $4.75 to $5.75, with 154 bushels per acre; and 2011/12 is $4.20 to $5.50, with 166 bushels per acre.

Also, Mr Brock reminded the grain buyers that factors other than supply and demand can affect corn prices. He pointed out that investments in commodity index funds have too much impact and suggested that regulations are needed to control the size of the funds.

In his Oilseed Outlook, Warren Feather of Cargill, said that based on USDA's recent crop report, the soybean crop "was good, but not as good as expected". Stocks are up from last year, but are still "snug". He said that the global grain and oilseed situation was impacted by the Russian drought that caused a significant drop in wheat production. It was a major catalyst in the reduction in the overall world grain supply.

Mr Feather said that going forward, there are two major caveats. China can control markets, at least in the short term, due to the volume in their buying and selling cycles. The other important factor in the future will be the US policy on biofuel. "The current higher prices will pull in more crop acreage, but not enough acres can be added to solve the problem. The ultimate solution must come through technology and increasing yield," he added.

Eric Scholer of Express Markets gave a Poultry Industry Outlook. He said that broiler production will continue to increase in 2011, at least until later in the year despite high corn prices because of planned schedules for placements. Production increase for 2011 will be about two per cent. Russia and China exports will continue to be uncertain, after a decrease this year of 30 per cent. But the total drop in exports will be only 10 per cent because of picking up other markets.

Breast meat prices for 2011 are expected to be only slightly lower due to less total meat supplies. Leg quarter prices for next year will be a little stronger than this year, but not up to 2009 prices.

Economist Dr Don Ratajczak presented the Economic Forecast for 2011. "Our economy is damaged and still has serious problems," he said. "And the financial sector is still weak, but it is beginning to get better and will soon start generating capital. Unfortunately, enough jobs still are not being created."

Mr Ratajczak said that the stimulus for the US economy was "poorly handled". He said: "For example, stimulus money should have been given to the worker building the bridge. He would actually spend it, plus we would have the bridge." Uncertainty is still a big factor, he added – uncertainty especially about tax law (he predicts a two-year extension of full tax cuts) and the health care law, along with its impact on employers.

For 2011, Mr Ratajczak forecasts two per cent growth for the US economy in the first half, and four per cent in the second half. Housing will start to improve and employment will begin to increase – one and one-half to two million jobs, mostly in the second half of the year. Interest rates will also start going up in 2011. The stock market next year will increase 10 to 12 per cent, although the value of the dollar could change things.

Dr David Meeker, National Rendering Association gave a report on Salmonella in feeds. And Jon Davis, Chesapeake Weather, presented 'A Global Weather Report and the Impact on Feed Grain Crops'.

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