• Local prices for grains, oilseeds and fiber continued their decline this week. Yellow maize prices decline by 2.7%, while white maize prices declined by 4.9% week-on-week. Week-on-week wheat prices were down 0.4%, soybean prices are down 0.5% and sunflower prices are down 3.6%. A large late winter storm hit the US creating wet conditions along the corn belt which is likely to affect international production estimates. A conclusion to the US/China trade negotiations has been delayed until June. There was no South African wool auction this week, however local wool producers may be facing serious cash flow issues as wool exports continues to be suspended.

    US corn prices declined this week by 2.9%, this is 14.4% lower than prices were a year ago. A big late winter storm has created very wet conditions along the corn belt which may resulting in flooding and disrupt planting. The US market is currently watching the weather closely as reduced acreage will disrupt the supply/demand outlook. US traders are currently net short for approximately 246 thousand corn contracts which could support South African prices.

    The domestic maize market traded lower this week with white maize spot prices dropping by 4.9% week-on-week and yellow maize spot prices dropping by 2.7% week-on-week. The international Grains Council has estimated that there will be a 14% decline in South African maize production in the 2018/19 season due to lower plantings and lower yields. Due to late plantings local producers are concerned regarding the risk of frost occuring up to the first weekend of May. Another concern for the market is the movement of the Rand as the May elections approaches.

    Prices of both white and yellow maize are expected to continue their decline until the end of June; then prices are expected to start increasing. The USDA Production Estimate will be released on the 10th of May which will indicate the extent to which the storm affected the US corn crop. The US/China trade negotiations are ongoing and a conclusion is expected to be delayed until June.

    The international wheat market traded lower overall this week with Soft Red Gulf down by 2.1% and Hard Red Gulf down by 1.7% week-on-week.
    Wheat export shipments are low. The market is expected to remain relatively stable over the next weeks as news on whether delayed plantings due to the storm this week will have an effect on production estimates.

    The JSE spot price was 0.4% lower this week. The new import tariff has not be implemented yet so the tariff currently remains at R490.70. The new wheat tariff of R675.07 is expected to be published this week. New season (Dec 2019) and old season (May 2019) contract prices declined this week. The US import parity is down by 2% week-on-week.

    International wheat prices are expected to move sideways as the market waits for news on delayed spring plantings as well as a conclusion to the trade deal. The USDA is set to release their revised production estimate on the 10th of May. Domestic wheat prices are also expected to remain fairly stable in the next months with a slight increase in prices in May in accordance with seasonal trends.

    US soybean prices increased marginally week-on-week but are down 16.9% since last year. Week-on-week soya oil was up 0.2% while soya meal was down 0.5%. Although the early harvests of the Argentina soybean crop have indicated higher than expected yields, there is some concern over the protein content of the beans. Egypt's growing feed demand has resulted in imports increasing by 5% from last year mainly sourced from the US. The world supply of oilseeds are expected to exceed earlier estimates due to the revised yields of the South American crop.

    The local oilseed market continued to trade downwards this week although prices of soybeans and sunflowers were up from last year. Sunflower
    prices are down 3.6% from last week while soybean prices are down 0.5% from last week. The crushing margin after tax is 57.6% lower than it was a year ago.

    Soybean and sunflower seed prices are expected to follow the seasonal trends and drop in April before increasing from May. Derived soybean prices are expected to start increasing in the months coming up to June.

    Australia: Australian wool prices continued their decline this week, decreasing by 1.5% from last week. The decline in prices is due to the wool offering consisting of an increase of less stylish wools with low yields. There was high competition amongst buyers for the small offering of wools with better styles and higher yields. The next auction has 42,487 bales scheduled for sale.

    Australian wool prices are expected to drop in Rand terms in April and May before increasing in June. Domestic wool is still prohibited from being
    exported and as such prices are under continued pressure. Local wool prices are expected to remain relatively stable from April to June. Domestic cotton prices are expected to decrease slightly in the next three months.
    Local: There was no South African wool auction for the week ending 12th April 2019. The next auction is scheduled for the 17th of April. Wool prices are under pressure and are expected to continue to decline. Disease outbreaks in China as well as the US/China trade negotiations are currently taking priority for Chinese authorities. The FMD outbreaks in South Africa are of growing concern for Chinese government. Local wool producers may be facing cash flow problems due to the delay before the suspension of wool exports is lifted.
    USA: The cotton A Index increased by 0.6% week-on-week; this is 3.4% higher than a month ago however is 2.0% lower than the same time a year ago. Producer offerings and demand was moderate this week. Planting of new season cotton is expected to increase this week after widespread rainfall was welcomed to areas where moderate drought conditions had been experienced.
    Local: South African cotton prices are up by 13.9% from the same time last year however week-on-week prices are down by 0.5%.

  • Cyril Ramaphosa was entirely presidential when he stepped up to the podium on Thursday night and asked South Africans to “make an even greater sacrifice” and “endure” another two weeks of lockdown. He revealed that the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in SA had risen by 4.8% to 1,934 people by Thursday.