Market to Market (January 3, 2020)

Coming up on Market to
Market — A truce in the trade war as the
calendar flips. Another state adds legal
cannabis to its economy. Trade deals, weather
events and ethanol troubles, a 2019 rewind. And commodity market
analysis with Ted Seifried, next. Pioneer Hi-Bred
International is a proud sponsor of
Market to Market. ♪♪ Tomorrow. For over 100 years we
have worked to help our customers be ready
for tomorrow. Trust in tomorrow. Information is available
from a Grinnell Mutual agent today. Sukup Manufacturing
Company – providing equipment and buildings to
store and condition grain to help farmers adjust
to market swings. We build drying, moving
and storage equipment designed to preserve the
quality of their crops. Sukup Manufacturing,
store now, profit later. Accu-Steel, offering
fabric covered buildings specifically designed for
the cattle industry since 2001. The next generation
of cattle buildings. Information at ♪♪ This is the
Friday, January 3 edition of Market to Market, the
Weekly Journal of Rural America. ♪♪ Hello, I’m
Delaney Howell. The announcement of a
truce in the U.S.-China trade war has yet to
produce any fine print. Officials on both sides of
the Pacific are holding to the expectation China
will double agricultural imports and reduce
tariffs on pork products. The news added fuel
to the markets. Stocks around the world
rose on the news but fell back at the end of week
after an American drone strike in Iraq. In December, as rumors of
a deal came to light, the Mid-America Business
Conditions Index moved just above growth neutral
even as the trade war slowed the rural economy. The Institute for Supply
Management’s Manufacturing Index also showed effects
of the trade war as the index slipped for the
fourth month in a row to levels not seen
since 2009. The new year
brings new laws. As some states raised
non-farm minimum wages, another turned to
marijuana to help their tax mix. Legislators in Illinois
added recreational cannabis on Wednesday. The first day generated
nearly $3.2 million in sales. Along the way, the
Governor of Illinois erased the records of more
than 11-thousand people convicted of
marijuana-related crimes. Josh Buettner has more. Illinois rang in the New
Year with inaugural sales of recreational marijuana
in over 30 locations across the state – though
heavily concentrated in Chicagoland. Hundreds lined up
outside existing medical dispensaries who’ve
transitioned to first wave commercial vendors. Man Exiting Chicago
Dispensary: “Super happy. Finally.” The Land of
Lincoln joined Michigan, where legal sales began
December 1, 2019 as the first Midwest states
to follow 9 others into legalization. Illinois is the only state
to do so by passing a bill into law. Gov. J.B. Pritzker/D – Illinois:
“Illinois is establishing itself as the first state
in the nation to legalize in a way that truly puts
equity first.” In addition to expunging criminal
records for marijuana arrests and convictions,
the law’s architects added provisions to empower
communities whose law enforcement was previously
charged with the combating the substance. Neighboring states expect
an uptick in interstate commerce and impaired
driving incidents – as non-residents are able to
purchase limited amounts in weed-legal states. For Dubuque County Iowa
Sheriff Joe Kennedy, public safety
is number one. Sheriff Joe
Kennedy/Dubuque County, Iowa: “We’re
bound by our law. It’s pretty
black and white. It says you’re not
allowed to have it here.” Officials warn black
markets – not subject to new regulatory fees –
will persist regardless of marijuana’s legal status. But for Ashlee and Jacob
Bainbridge of Galena, Illinois, the opportunity
arose for them to return home after being part of
the industry in Colorado. Ashlee
Bainbridge/Botanicanna/Gal ena, Illinois:
“Yeah, absolutely. It was perfect timing.”
Now growing hemp, legalized nationally under
the 2018 Farm Bill, the couple sells
non-intoxicating CBD oil extracted from the
plant’s flower. Ashlee
Bainbridge/Botanicanna/Gal ena, Illinois: “So we
knew from the beginning, vertical
integration is key. So we knew that we had
to do farm to sale.” The Bainbridges are part of a
second wave of legal sale hopefuls looking to
grow, sell and process recreational pot. But new applicants won’t
get the word on anything until late spring. Jacob
Bainbridge/Botanicanna/Gal ena, Illinois: “They’ve
got to start growing the plant from scratch and
that’ll take, you know, six months just to grow
the plant – and then get the facilities, we’re
probably looking at 2021 – January before sales for
all the new licensees will actually be selling.” For
Market to Market, I’m Josh Buettner. President Trump tweeted
that he would sign the Phase 1 deal with China on
January 15 in Washington, D.C.. Rumors of trade
deals were a recurring theme during 2019 as
farmers continued to take the brunt of
the trade war. The big stories for rural
America last year were centered on just
a few topics. Paul Yeager has the 2019
rewind in in our Cover Story. The biggest stories
impacting rural America in 2019 could be summarized
to three words – trade, ethanol and weather. The government was closed
for business when the ball dropped on 2019, as
federal agencies tried to figure out who was
essential and would remain open during the impasse. The administration found
money to keep supporting nutrition assistance
programs like SNAP and WIC afloat. However, by year’s end,
the USDA would announce a reduction in eligibility
for those receiving benefits. Secretary Sonny Perdue
announced an increase in work requirements for
those applying for assistance. A spring outbreak of
severe weather started with tornadoes
in the South. High snowpack prompted the
National Weather Service to issue flooding
advisories from St. Louis north to the
Canadian border. Then, a Bomb Cyclone went
off and covered territory from Colorado to South
Dakota in early March. The massive low pressure
system shuttered interstates
with a blizzard. Then a quick-thaw freed
ice chunks which jammed rivers. Heavy rains added more
water to the problem falling on frozen ground
and running straight into rivers. Damage estimates quickly
topped $1 billion dollars as disaster areas were
declared in several states along the Missouri and
Mississippi Rivers. Vice President Mike Pence:
“We’re with you.’ And the American people are going
to stand with the people across the Nebraska,
across Iowa, across all of the eight states that
have been impacted by the severe weather and the
flooding.” Many flooded areas along the Missouri
River would go without a crop as several rounds of
rain washed out any chance to plant in 2019. The same was true along
a line from southern Michigan, through
Arkansas to New Orleans. USDA estimates put more
than 19 million acres in prevent plant, up nearly
300 percent from the five-year average of
4.8 million acres. Those that were able to
finally get into the field were delayed on both
ends of the cycle as wet weather seemed a part of
the story at every key point of the growing
season, including early snowfall in major corn and
soybean producing states. June’s World Pork Expo was
cancelled as organizers cited an abundance of
caution in trying to stem the African Swine Fever
from spreading to the United States. Producers in China have
dealt with the bulk of cases that have
hammered herds. The National Pork
Producers Council event attracts 20,000 visitors
annually from across the globe to Iowa. President Donald J. Trump: “A few days ago
we lifted – (applause) – right? We lifted the restrictions
on E15 just in time to fuel America’s
summer vacations. We just made it. (Applause.) We
just made it. (Applause.) President
Trump made a victory lap on E15 during a trip to
Council Bluffs, Iowa in June. Even as the president
was declaring a win for renewable fuels,
refineries were closing or limiting production as the
EPA continued to hand out Small Refinery Exemptions. Geoff Cooper, President
and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association: “We cannot
afford to see this victory on E15 undermined by
more exemption for small refiners from the RFS.”
Biofuels supporters touted their own victory over
SRE’s after an Oval Office meeting with President
Trump in September. Iowa Senator Charles
Grassley said what transpired in that session
was a win for all sides, but he still wanted
the deal in writing. Senator Charles Grassley,
R – Iowa: “We left that meeting satisfied that
if it comes out on paper, because EPA writing it and
you know, I think a big oil has too much
influence in EPA. But if it comes out on
paper, the way that we orally had a discussion
with the president and everybody seemed to be
satisfied.” Grassley and other renewable fuels
supporters would spend the rest of 2019 on this same
message appealing to the president to
keep his word. Congress reached a deal in
late December announcing a five-year extension of the
biomass-based diesel tax credit. Days later, the EPA set
2020 levels at 15 billion gallons of conventional
biofuel volumes. Renewable industry
champions said the government will still have
too much wiggle room in deciding waivers for
oil refiners in 2020. Monte Shaw, Iowa Renewable
Fuels Association: “We’re very disappointed,
frustrated, and quite frankly, a lot of people I
talked to her a little bit angry.” That same day
of December 19, Congress voted to approve
the USMCA. The replacement for NAFTA
was met with mostly cheers in the deal between
Canada, the United States and Mexico as issues over
labor, manufacturing and agriculture had finally
been sorted out. The ups and downs of this
trade deal had drug on for a good portion of 2019,
much like the on-going negotiations with China. The war between the U.S. and China escalated as
breakthroughs failed to materialize which would
have allowed the ending of tariffs on
thousands of items. A Phase One deal was
announced in late December with official translation
and signing set for early 2020. The loss of markets with a
major trading partner was cause enough for the
government to put together the Market
Facilitation Program. MFP payments were aimed
at assisting farmers suffering from trade
damage done by retaliation by foreign nations. The announcement of
the MFP came in May. Calculations for payouts
were based on previous production volumes and the
money was doled out over the rest of the year. The effects from the deals
or “no deals” reverberated throughout 2019 in the
markets both commodity and financial. And 2019 was the year
two strong voices of agriculture on this
program went silent with the passing of Doug
Jackson and Walt Hackney. Both appeared on this
program over several decades as
market analysts. Jackson died in May
at the age of 67. Hackney was 81 and
passed in April. For Market to Market,
I’m Paul Yeager. Next, the Market
to Market report. Optimism over the China
trade deal met head on with anticipation of the
size of the 2019 crop for most of the week. The drone strike in
Iraq created risk off conditions by the
final session. For the week, March wheat
fell 2 cents, while the nearby corn contract
dropped 4 cents. Tensions in the Middle
East, and anticipation over the January 10 crop
production summary, kept the March soybean
contract even. March meal gained
80 cents per ton. March cotton expanded 28
cents per hundredweight. Over in the dairy parlor,
February Class III milk futures fell 13 cents. The livestock
sector was lower. The February cattle
contract cut $1.97, March feeders dropped $2.12
and the February lean hog contract shed $2.03. In the currency
markets, the U.S. Dollar index was flat. February crude oil
improved $1.29 per barrel. COMEX Gold jumped
$32.90 per ounce. And the Goldman Sachs
Commodity Index expanded more than 4 points
to finish at 440.50. Joining us now to offer
insight on these and other trends is one of our
regular market analysts, Ted Seifried. Ted, welcome back. Seifried: Hi, thanks
for having me, Delaney. Howell: Ted, we had a very
interesting day on Friday with the trading sessions
there, kind of maybe a black swan event and I’m
going to let you elaborate whether or not that is
going to be a black swan event there talking about
of course the bombings happening, or drone
strike happening. Give us your quick tweet
thought on this and why it affected the
commodities today. Seifried: Well obviously
as you said in the intro, risk off, so panic
selling, any of the speculators were
running for the doors. It wasn’t just soybeans,
it was really happening all over the place, lean
hogs were limit down. The thought process is
if this escalates into a conflict China is an ally
of Iraq’s, they’re allies, so is it possible that if
this escalates China is going to say no more
trade deal because you’re fighting with one
of our allies? I guess that
was the concern. I don’t really think
that’s founded. I think China really wants
this trade deal, needs this trade deal. I think that is going to
go forward regardless and I don’t know if this is
going to escalate into a greater conflict in
Iraq, I’m not a political analyst. But to me it seemed like a
knee jerk reaction in what would have been some
fairly low volume markets due to the tail end of the
holiday season and just sort of panic selling. I think we’re going
to rebound pretty significantly early next
week as long as there isn’t an escalation of
this conflict with Iraq this weekend or
early next week. Howell: Ted, I want to get
to that, but first looking at the wheat market they
have had, aside from today, really strong
movement upward touching some of those new highs
in the Chicago contract. How much steam is
left in that engine? Seifried: That’s
a good question. I think there’s more
upside potential for wheat. A lot of it is going to
kind of depend on what happens with
row crops too. But I think there’s more
upside potential in wheat. We’ve been saying for
years there’s so much wheat in the world, we’re
going to need a production issue in not just one but
two or three major growing areas and we actually
have that this year. Look at Australia,
Argentina, us to some extent, there’s some
concerns about the Black Sea area. If the dollar can continue
to go lower, which it started to break out to
the downside this week but then Friday kind of really
threw a wrench into that, we’ll see how that plays
out, but if the dollar continues to the downside
that should do really good things specifically for
our wheat exports but also for commodities
as a whole. Howell: Ted, I want to
follow up now again then because I’m guessing corn
and soybeans are going to be one of the players
hopefully that rebound after Friday’s selloff. What do you see happening
on Monday when we open especially in
the corn market? Seifried: Well, if you
tell me what happens this weekend. When we left it on Friday
Iraq was talking pretty strongly about retaliation
and things like that. If that happens this could
get worse, gold and crude oil continue to go higher,
commodities as a whole continue to go lower as
risk off continues to happen. But if that doesn’t
happen, if we have a clean weekend, no escalation,
everything is okay and into early next week then
I think yes, we will find our footing and we’ll
say okay, we were really overdone, this panic
selling was a bit much on Friday, let’s get back to
trading the fundamentals that we had and that is
we’ve got a January WASDE report which is going
to give us not just production for last year,
not just our normal supply and demand update, but
also quarterly grain stocks, which is a big
deal not getting a lot of talk right now. And I think in
anticipation of that report there’s some pretty
bullish ideas out there especially for the
production number, soybeans and corn
in particular. So I think that’s going
to bring in some, I think there’s buying in
front of this report. Howell: So I think that
sets us up nicely here, Ted, for a social media
question coming to us from Mitch Hemesath on Twitter. What percentage sold of
old and new crop corn would you want to be at
by planting intensions report. Seifried: Hi, Mitch. How’s it going, buddy? Hmm, old crop corn I think
we want to be pretty much sold on that
at this point. We had our chances,
we really did. And if you missed those
chances I think you had opportunities to make some
sales because of such a strong basis and then come
in and reown those bushels one way or another. As far as new crop corn,
by the time we get into planting intentions, I’d
say by the end of January into early February I’d
like to see guys 30% to 40% sold on new crop corn. A lot of that kind of
depends on what happens because we set out price
targets every year and we have percentages that
we want to sell at those price targets. We haven’t hit enough to
be 50% to 60% sold per se. But yeah, I’d like to see
guys 30% to 40% sold by that timeframe. Howell: Okay, Ted,
changing tracks here to talking about the soybean
markets, we had Philip Shaw write in a question,
I’m not going to read you the whole question, but
he went back and verified that you said in a
previous episode we were going to see $10 soybeans
in the January contract. We haven’t yet
seen that, Ted. Are we still going to? Seifried: Yeah, we kind
of ran out of time for the January, but I think
we will see that going forward, say
March for example. There’s reasons why
we ran out of time. We did get the trade deal,
it hasn’t been signed yet, January 15th, we
all know that. But there’s just so much
skepticism in the market about this trade deal,
whether it actually ends up happening, whether
China follows through with it. But really does it even
mean anything good for U.S. agriculture or not? And part of the problem
there is because when we’re talking 40 to 45,
even 50 billion in U.S. agriculture it’s very
difficult to imagine that, it just seems like
a crazy number. That’s not the point. I think the market for the
most part is missing the point, that if China even
tries to get to those numbers, and let’s say
they get to 32 or 34 billion, that’s new
records across the board. And when the old records
were set, they were set when soybean prices were
trading almost twice as high as they
are right now. So that’s a lot
of soybeans. But that can really
potentially put our current soybean ending
stocks to zero or below pipeline. So that means price
rationing, that means higher prices. So yeah, I absolutely
think that there’s not only a good shot, I think
it’s highly likely that we’re going to see $10
beans at some point in the relatively near future as
long as things continue to move smoothly with
the trade deal. Howell: Ted, it sounds
like you’re saying that it’s going to take us
to actually move some agricultural products
before we start to see that $10 in the
soybean contract. Seifried: Yeah, I think
as far as the market is concerned we’ve been
burned on the idea of hey we have a deal only to
find out that it falls apart. So we’ve become jaded to
the positive news on trade deals. And yes, once we start to
see that in action it will be a realizing market,
I think the market will start realizing hey,
okay, this is actually happening, oh my they’re
buying more, and really get surprised by how much
they’re buying to the point where it’s like
okay, now we have to worry about our domestic usage
and now we have to start to price ration to ration
exports or ration the crush or I don’t know if
we’ll be able to ration exports if they
have to buy. So there is, for 2020
there is firework potential, explosive
upside potential for soybeans if things go the
way that are being talked about right now. Howell: We can continue
talking about that on Market Plus, Ted, but
we’ve got to talk about what is going on in
the meat markets. Obviously they also had
a selloff on Friday. But we’ve got a question
here from Matt in Amherst, Wisconsin wanting to know,
are fat cattle running out of gas here yet? Seifried: Yeah, hi Matt. Yeah, so a lot of analysts
for the last two months have been calling for a
big correction in cattle and so far we
haven’t seen it. That being said, we are
getting into seasonality where we can see some
pressure now and you do have more of a topping
sort of formation in the cattle market. On the other side of that,
you have seen the funds or the speculators come in
and buy really any of the dips so it has been
fairly well supported. I kind of do think we see
a bit of a correction now. I haven’t been saying
that I think we’ll get a correction until very
recently, it didn’t seem like it wanted to do it. Now I think we can get
that a little bit and Friday’s activity kind
of helped with that. But ultimately I’m
still fairly bullish. Domestic demand is
really very strong. I do think that we are
going to see better exports going forward
whether it’s to China but also Japan, Mexico,
so on and so forth. So yeah, I’m bullish
but a healthy correction wouldn’t be a bad thing. And I do think it’s a good
time for producers to take a look at some risk
management at this point. Howell: And do you think
cash can also sustain at these levels? Seifried: Yeah, packer’s
margins are pretty good. We have seen boxed beef
prices kind of cool off a bit over the
past month or so. But yeah, I think cash
can sustain higher prices. Again, you’ve got a market
that has gotten tired so I wouldn’t be surprised
to see a break. But overall, yeah, I
do think we can sustain higher cash prices. Howell: Ted, when we look
at the lean hog market, China is gearing up for
their Lunar New Year. Does that give you some
optimism that they may actually come through with
some big export purchases? Seifried: Well, on Friday
with the delayed export sales they had a pretty
sizeable cancellation. That was not good news. That on top of the drone
strike risk off climate that we walked into on
Friday morning, also not good news. And even before all of
that happened you had lean hogs running into some
very key resistance and failing. So, hogs, I don’t know
when China is going to start buying in the big
massive quantities we need them to do that. But in order to move the
cash market higher, which is ultimately what is
going to move the futures market higher, we’re
going to have to see that happen. So until it does I think
we’re just kind of stuck in this sideways
range for hogs. Now, I don’t think we’re
going to be limit down Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
unless there’s something that happens beyond what
we know right now as far as the conflict
is concerned. But I also don’t think
we’re going to be limit up three days in
a row either. So I think we’re kind of
stuck in this range, we just found sort of the
top of the range for now. We can try to go higher
into the 74 to 76 level at some point but that’s
about as high as I can see us going without a big
move in the cash market being driven by
exports to China. Howell: Okay, Ted, I also
wanted to ask you before we wrap up today’s show
about the oil markets. Obviously they were one
of the winners on Friday’s announcement. Where do you see oil
heading from here? Seifried: Well, if we’re
talking in just the next couple of days it really
depends on what the talk is coming out of Iraq
and so on and so forth. But okay, so for 2020 oil
outlook overall I think we’re starting to get very
overpriced in crude oil because when you have OPEC
holding back, when you have Russia holding back,
when you have us our rig count could go higher, the
higher prices are going to start to bring on more
production, OPEC deals tend to fall apart at
higher prices when they see the dollar signs, they
see the opportunities. I think we’ll start to
oversupply the market pretty aggressively at
these prices and short of a major conflict with Iraq
or other things, global conflicts happening, I
see downside potential. I think we could probably
get back into the mid-to-lower 50s at some
point during this calendar year. Howell: And should
producers wait to lock in fuel needs if they
haven’t done that yet? Seifried: It’s always good
to manage risk and if you haven’t done it already
then yeah, I suppose you might want to do something
now just in cast this escalates further. But no, overall for my
longer term needs I want to look for some
lower prices. Howell: Okay, Ted
Seifried, thank you so much. Seifried: Pleasure’s
mine, Delaney. Howell: That wraps up
the broadcast portion of Market to Market. But we will keep this
conversation going on Market Plus where we’ll
answer more of your questions. You can find it
on our website at Check out our Instagram
feed where you can find the images we’ve gathered
from rural America and a few a behind-the-scenes
shots. Search our new address at
“Market to Market Show.” Join us next week when
we’ll look at the debate over protein levels
in livestock feed. So until then, thanks for
watching and have a great week! ♪♪ Market to Market
is a production of Iowa PBS which is solely
responsible for its content. Pioneer Hi-Bred
International is a proud sponsor of
Market to Market. ♪♪ Tomorrow. For over 100 years we
have worked to help our customers be ready
for tomorrow. Trust in tomorrow. Information is available
from a Grinnell Mutual agent today. Sukup Manufacturing
Company – providing equipment and buildings to
store and condition grain to help farmers adjust
to market swings. We build drying, moving
and storage equipment designed to preserve the
quality of their crops. Sukup Manufacturing,
store now, profit later. Accu-Steel, offering
fabric covered buildings specifically designed for
the cattle industry since 2001. The next generation
of cattle buildings. Information at

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