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Weekly Economy, Energy and Commodity Report: September 8th 2023.




At 14H00 on September 7th the CME price for corn was up 2.2 percent compared to the previous week to 471 cents per bushel for September delivery. Despite the small weekly change, price was subject to large inter-day fluctuation with a sharp decline on Thursday September 6th, as influenced by weather and profit taking and indirectly by events in the Black Sea. Other factors included movement in the wheat market, with the crop in Australia projected one third down due to El Nino. During the week ending August 29th, 45 percent of corn acreage was located in drought areas compared to 34 percent a week ago. Orders by China have resumed at the end of the 2022-2023 market year. Despite concern over weather as the crop matures, the demand for ethanol and a projection for lower ending stock of corn, prices are remaining substantially unchanged week-to-week.


Soybeans were down 0.8 percent from last week to 1,350 cents per bushel for September delivery. Prices during the week generally responded to events in Ukraine, predictions of crop size and ending stocks and some profit taking with a sharp decline on Thursday September 7th. During the week 40 percent of soybean acreage was located in drought areas up from 38 percent last week and compared to 51 percent three weeks ago.


Soybean meal was down 2.9 percent to $407 per ton for September delivery, reflecting higher domestic and export demand although offset by the higher than expected crush-volume in July. Price will fluctuate to reflect the CME price for soybeans and the demand for soy oil. The market has now accepted projections of crop size and higher stocks for the old crop as documented in the April WASDE Report and the forecast included in the August WASDE Report for the 2023 crop and following the August 25th report on the Pro Farmer crop tour.


WTI was up 7.1 percent from last week rising $5.79 to $87.40 per barrel at close of trading on September 6th attributed to higher demand and strengthening of the U.S. Dollar. During the week WTI rose above $90 per barrel before retreating. The May announcement of an ‘agreed’ production cut by OPEC and an intended voluntary cut by Saudi Arabia of one million barrels per day announced on June 4th and extending through December is now contributing to inflation.


Factors influencing commodity prices in either direction over the past four weeks included:-


  • Fluctuating weather conditions in areas growing corn and soybeans with projected lower yields despite reduced speculation in commodities. (upward pressure).
  • Geopolitical considerations moved markets this past week. Cancellation of the BSGI in July and ongoing attacks on Ukraine port facilities continue to impact prices of wheat, corn, oilseeds and vegetable oils. Exports from Ukraine will be severely restricted even with E.U. support. Russia is attempting to implement a Black Sea blockade on Ukraine that raises prospects for NATO intervention. (Upward pressure on corn and wheat and an indirect effect on soybeans)
  • Macroeconomic U.S. factors:-
  • Most economists in academia and the private sector are forecasting a “soft landing” of the economy following upgraded forecasts for Q3 GDP and economic parameters as detailed below. Inflation has declined from 9.1 percent month-over-month to 4.0 percent over 11 FOMC rate cuts without materially increasing unemployment. There is evident stability in the bank sectors in both the U.S. and Europe. Large U.S. banks passed stringent “stress tests” in June.
  • The Federal Reserve increased the benchmark interest rate at the monthly FOMC meeting on July 26th by an expected 25 basis points. Chairman Powell in Congressional testimony and in FOMC minutes indicated that additional increases should be expected with observers anticipating one more rate hike in 2023 to restore inflation to near an annual 2.0 percent target that is now being questioned.
  • The Department of Commerce announced that the inflation rate for Q2 attained 2.6 percent down from the Q1 level of 4.1 percent.
  • The August 30th announcement of Q2 GDP confirmed a 2.1 percent annualized increase compared to a previous projection of 2.4 percent.
  • The August 10th release of the July 2023 CPI confirmed an annualized increase of 3.2 percent with a core value of 4.7 percent. Food was up 4.9 percent and energy down 12.5 percent compared to the corresponding month of July 2022. The macro trend is clearly towards reduced inflation but with concern over escalation in energy and stubbornly high food prices.
  • The July Producer Price Index (PPI) released on August 11th rose 0.2 percent over June and was up 2.7 percent from July 2022. The increase is attributed mainly to the service sector. Wholesale food was up 0.5 percent compared with a 0.2 percent decline in June.
  • The August 15th release of retail sales showed an increase of 0.7 percent in July over the previous month Restaurant expenditures were up 1.4 percent and on-line purchases higher by 1.9 percent
  • The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index released on August 29th for August, declined to 106 points, down from 114 in July
  • New home sales in July were up 4.4 percent over June despite +7% mortgage rates.
  • On July 30th the Personal Consumption Expenditure Price Index for July was up 0.2 from June 2023. Services were up 0.3 percent, food down 0.1 percent but offset by goods up 0.1 percent.
  • Consumer spending during July increased by 0.8 percent compared to June at 0.6 percent, with consumer spending representing 68 percent of economic activity. The Federal Reserve closely monitors this index as a measure of the trend in inflation.
  • Non-farm payrolls increased to 187,000 during July, lower than the 12-month average of 240,000 as documented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on July 31st The unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent from 3.6 percent in June. Average hourly wage rate in July was up 0.4 percent from June to $33.74 and up 4.4 percent year over year. Wage rates are closely followed by the Federal Reserve FOMC. Job openings declined to 8.8 million on July 31st down 4.4 percent from 9.2 million on June 30th 2023.
  • Initial jobless claims released on September 7th attained 216,000 for the week ending September 2nd, down by 13,000 over the week. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated 1.68 million continuing claims as of August 26th.
  • A Bureau of Labor Statistics report on September 7th recorded a 3.5 percent increase in Productivity; Unit Labor Cost was up by 1.9 percent and Hours Worked down by 1.5 percent in Q2
  • The ADP reported on August 30th that private payrolls increased by 177,000, down 52.2 percent from July compared with an estimate of 195,000. This decline will not directly influence the probability of short-term future rate hikes or pauses. The ADP is regarded by the FOMC as an unreliable statistic




  • Dry weather in the Midwest during early June transitioned to intermittent rain effectively lowering prices for corn and soybeans in July and early August. Drought conditions prevail in 45 percent of corn areas and 40 percent of soybean acreage. (Downward pressure on prices with firmer indications yields in the July WASDE)
  • The Pro-Farmer crop tour recently lowered yield estimates for corn and soybeans from the August WASDE estimates by 1.8 and 2.3 percent respectively, based on adverse weather conditions.
  • It is evident that both polarization in the closely divided chambers of Congress and intra-party conflict between and among both sides of the House will delay adoption of appropriations bills. Passage of the 2023 Farm Bill will be contentious and now most likely to be delayed until the end of the year over SNAP eligibility and other entitlements that collectively represent 75 percent of total expenditure. The August 2nd downgrade of U.S. debt from AAA to AA+ by Fitch Ratings recognizes Congressional dysfunction. The Agency cited “a steady deterioration in the standard of governance”. The House must pass 11 appropriations bills in 12 working days from mid-September to avoid shutdowns at the end of the Federal fiscal year. This situation is creating uncertainty and impacting equity and commodity markets.
  • The August 11th WASDE #639 updated soybean production and a near record corn harvest for the new crop with high world availability despite drought in the Argentine. The August WASDE confirmed the damage caused by the transitory drought in the Midwest during late May through early July by reducing the projected yields of both soybeans and corn from the July report. The U.S. will export 12 percent of both old and new crop corn resulting in lower ending stocks. Soybean exports will comprise 44 percent of the old crop and 40 percent of the new crop with a reduction in ending stock. (See WASDE Report in this edition confirming availability, use and ex-farm price projections)
  • There is an expectation that for market-year 2022-2023, Brazil will attain a record soybean harvest of 156 million metric tons with export of 97 million metric tons. These values were increased by 2 percent and 4 percent respectively from May projections. Corn exports will attain 50 million metric tons (197 million bushels). Soybean exports in August will be 8.7 million metric tons (320 million bushels) (Lower prices in the future subject to favorable reports on crop progress and actual harvests)
  • The Dollar Index (DXY) was 104.9 on September 6th,up 1.8 points from last week. The DXY has ranged from 99.6 to 110.8 over the past 52-weeks. The dollar index influences timing and volume of export orders and the price of WTI crude.




The FAS Export Report, the first released for market year 2023/2024 released on September 8th for the week ending August 31st reflected carry-over from market year 2022-2023. The report confirmed that outstanding export orders for corn amounted to 10.4 million metric tons (410.0 million bushels) with no accumulated shipments recorded for the new market year. Net orders for the past week covering the 2023-2024 market year amounted to 0.95 million metric tons (37.3 million bushels). There were no shipments recorded during the past working week. For market year 2024-2025 outstanding sales this week amounted to 0.1 million metric tons (4.7 million bushels), with no sales recorded this week for the 2024-2025 market year.

(Conversion 39.36 bushels per metric ton. Quantities in metric tons rounded to 0.1 million)


The FAS Export Report for the week ending August 31st reflecting market year 2023-2024 with carry-over from the previous market year, recorded outstanding export orders for soybeans amounting to 15.9 million metric tons (585.7 million bushels) with no cumulative shipments recorded for the new market year. Net weekly orders attained 1.8 million metric tons (65.5 million bushels). Outstanding sales recorded for market year 2024-2025 amounted to 2.5 million metric tons (5.3 million bushels) with 0.14 million metric tons (5.3 million bushels) sold this past week. (Conversion 36.74 bushels per metric ton)


For the week ending August 31st 2023 net orders of soybean meal and cake amounted to 297,100 metric tons for the market year 2022-2023. During the past week 237,900 metric tons of meal and cake combined was shipped, representing 2.1 percent of the total 11.6 million metric tons exported during the current marketing year. This quantity to date is 5.9 percent higher than the volume for the corresponding period of the previous market year. For the next market year 2023-2024 outstanding sales have attained 2.5 million metric tons with 143.1 metric tons ordered this past week.


The August 11th 2023 WASDE confirmed:-

  • Corn area planted for all purposes in 2023 (‘new crop’) will attain 94.1 million acres, up 6.2 percent or 5.5 million acres from last year. Compared with last year, planted acreage is expected to be up or unchanged in 43 of the 48 estimating States. According to the August WASDE, yield was lowered to 175.1 bushels per acre with a resulting 2,202 million bushel ending stock. The USDA raised the average season ex-farm price to 490 cents per bushel.
  • Soybean area planted for 2023 is estimated at 83.5 million acres, down 5.5 percent from 88.1 million acres last year. Compared with last year, planted acreage is down or unchanged in 21 of the 29 estimating States. According to the August WASDE yield was reduced to 50.9 bushels per acre with a resulting 245 million bushels ending stock with the USDA projecting a higher average season price of 1,270 cents per bushel.
  • The August 25th release of the 2023 report of the Pro Farmer crop tour projected corn yield down 1.8 percent to 172 bushels per acre, compared to 175.1 bushels included in the August USDA WASDE. Soybean yield was reduced by 2.3 percent to 49.7 bushels per acre from 50.9 bushels due to recent dry and hot weather 
  • Crushers are expected to produce 54,175 million tons of soybean meal. Ending stocks will attain 400,000 tons increasing the USDA projected price from the previous season by $10 to $375 per ton.


The preference for corn planted was based on a favorable projection of the corn to soy benefit ratio in March 2023.


Actual 2022 corn and soybean harvests and projected ending stocks for the 2022 season (‘old crop’) were documented in the April 11thWASDE #635, posted under the STATISTICS Tab. Corn yield attained 173.3 bushels per acre with a crop of 13,730 million bushels. Ending stock will attain 1,342 million bushels. Soybean yield was 49.5 bushels per acre with a crop of 4,276 million bushels. Ending stocks were projected to be 210 million bushels. The April WASDE report was based on actual harvest data and values incorporated amended domestic use and export categories. This WASDE report presumably considered the predicted impact on world prices following disruption of the 2022 Ukraine crop following the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation. Updated values are included in the summary of the August WASDE #639 posted in this edition. WASDE #640 will be reviewed in the September 15th edition of EGG-NEWS




The following quotations for the months of delivery as indicated were posted by the CME at 14H00 on September 7th 2023, compared with values at 15H00 on August 31st 2023 (in parentheses): -




Corn (cents per bushel)

Sept. 471 (461).

Dec. 484 (479)

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

Sept. 1,350 (1,361).

Nov. 1,360 (1,367) 

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

Sept. 407 (419).

Oct. 397 (405)


Changes in the price of corn, soybeans and soybean meal over four trading days this past week were:-


Corn: Sept. quotation up 10 cent per bushel. (+2.2 percent)

Soybeans: Sept. quotation down 11 cents per bushel (-0.8 percent)

Soybean Meal: Sept. quotation down $12 per ton (-2.9 percent)


The CME spot prices for feedstuffs per short ton at close of trading on September 6th 2023 with prices for the previous week were:-

  • Corn (ZC): $173 per ton (Unchanged from the previous week). 52-week range $166 to $254
  • Soybean Meal (ZM): $398 per ton was $410 (down 2.9 percent from the previous week). 52-week range $386 to $513


Values for other common ingredients per short ton:-


  • Meat and Bone Meal, (According to the USDA National AnimalBy-product Feedstuffs Report on September 1st): $425 to $500 per ton (Av. $465 per ton) for porcine (ex MN); $400 to $525 per ton (Av. $480 per ton) for ruminant (ex MN). Price varies according to plant and location
  • According to the USDA National Mill-Feeds andMiscellaneous Feedstuffs Report on September 1st wheat middlings from IL. and other states: $155 to $190 per ton (Av. $165 per ton) (Current value reflect wheat price following the disruption of shipping from Ukraine, drought in the U.S and world weather extremes)
  • According to the University of Missouri Extension Service By-Product Feed Price Listing on August 29th DDGS, (IA. and other states) was priced at $200 to $240 (Av. $225 per ton). Price varies according to plant and location and is expected to fluctuate with the price of corn
  • Bakery Meal, (MO & TX): $190 to $220 per ton on August 15th.
  • Rice Bran, (AR & TX): $150 to $200 per ton. (Av. $175) on August 15th.


For each $1 per ton (2.8 cents/bushel) change in corn the cost of egg production would change by 0.11 cent per dozen


For each $10 per ton change in the price of soybean meal the cost of egg production would change by 0.35 cent per dozen


The respective changes in the spot prices of corn and soybean meal on September 5th compared with August 30th would decrease nest-run production cost for eggs by 0.4* cents per dozen. *(Rounded to 0.1cent)




The latest U.S. Energy Information Administration (U.S. EIA) report estimated that fuel ethanol blending would average 990,000 barrels per day in 2023, up 1.2 percent from 2022. This past week 87.8 percent (87.4 percent last week) of the U.S. ethanol fermentation volume was operational, based on January 2023 U.S. EIA capacity of 1,152 million barrels per day. The outlook for increased production will depend on higher domestic demand, from summer driving in addition to increasing the quantity that is exported.


During June 2023 (the last month for which data is available) ethanol exports were down 0.8 percent from May to 115 million gallons (2.68 million barrels). Importing nations and regions of significance and their proportions of total volume for the month included:- 45.3 percent to Canada; 22.4 percent to Central and South America and the Caribbean; 15.4 percent to Europe.; 9.1 percent to South Korea; 3.7 percent to Mexico; 3.0 percent to Africa.


According to the U.S. EIA, for the week ending September 1st 2023 the industry produced on average 1,012,000 barrels of ethanol per day. This was up 0.5 percent from the week ending August 25th 2023 and continued weekly production just above the one million gallon per day benchmark. On September 1st ethanol stock was unchanged from the previous week at 21.6 million barrels, an approximately 20-day reserve. This past week demonstrated higher demand for ethanol, given relative changes in the weekly production level and stock. The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecast ethanol production at 970,000 barrels per day during the first and second quarters of 2023 although in reality this projected volume is regularly exceeded. The short-term prospects for a substantial increase in domestic consumption are unfavorable despite a 2023 summer waiver and bipartisan bills in Congress to permit year-round E-15 blend. Many older vehicles cannot use higher than an E-10 blend and there are obvious restraints on fuel stations to store and dispense high-ethanol blends although the USDA is extending grants for investment in tanks and multi-blend pumps,


Current Energy Prices:-


  • Ethanol quoted on the CME (EH) on September 6th was priced at $2.16 per gallon, unchanged for months due to lack of trading activity. The 52-week range is $2.14 to $2.19 per gallon.
  • On September 6th RBOB gasoline traded on NASDAQ (RB) at $2.60 per gallon, up three cents (0.4 percent) from the previous week. The 52-week range for RBOB gasoline is $2.01 to $4.73.
  • The CME WTI crude price has largely ignored concerns over a possible World recession. There has been little response to a predicted lower supply due to a previously announced OPEC production cut that commenced in July and a voluntary one-million barrel per day reduction by Saudi Arabia revealed on June 4th extending to December. Price was up $5.79 per barrel, (7.1 percent) to $87.40 per barrel on September 6th compared to the previous week after retreating from $90 per barrel four days earlier. Hydrocarbon sources of energy are now contributing to inflation compared to the second quarter of 2023.
  • The AAA national average regular grade gasoline price was $3.80 per gallon on September 6th, down 3 cents per gallon (0.5 percent) from last week. Gasoline is now $1.67 per gallon more expensive than ethanol but has a 63 percent higher BTU rating. Future rises in fuel cost are inevitable given the increases in benchmark WTI
  • The AAA national average diesel price was $4.45 per gallon on September 6th, up 1 cent per gallon (0.2 percent) from the previous week but with prospects for a future increases due to a low national stock and a rising WTI price.
  • CME Henry Hub natural gas was priced at $2.51 per MM BTU on September 6th down 28 cents per MM BTU (10.0 percent) from the previous week




DDGS is freely available with most plants among the 192 operational on January 1st 2023 (the last available estimate) with a combined capacity of 1,152 million barrels per day functioning at 87.2 percent. The USDA National Mill-Feeds andMiscellaneous Feedstuffs Report on August 25th priced DDGS at $200 to $240 per ton. Wide variation in price exists depending on supplier, quantity and location. It is axiomatic that the cost of DDGS will reflect changes in the price of corn with an appropriate lag period. Generally DDGS is currently incorporated at moderate inclusion levels in egg-production formulas based on price relative to the nutrient contribution of corn and other ingredients. This will change as corn and hence DDGS fluctuate in price


The CME soybean price for September 2023 delivery at 14H00 on September 7th was down 2.2 percent to 1,350 cents per bushel. The current price of soybeans is a reflection of availability for domestic crushing, consumption and export orders. Soybean meal was down 2.9 percent to $407 per ton for September 2023 delivery. Prices are obviously influenced by projections of harvest in the three major producing nations in South America, drought in the U.S. Midwest coupled with domestic and international demand for soy oil and meal.


According to a release on August 15th by the National Oilseed Processors Association, whose members process 95 percent of the U.S. crop, 173.3 million bushels of soybeans were crushed in July 2023, higher than the consensus of estimates averaging 171.3 million bushels. Crush volume was up 5.0 percent from the previous month of June 2023, at 165.0 million bushels. The August crush data will be posted in the September 22nd edition.


On August 30th the CME spot price for soybean oil was down 0.3 cents per lb. (0.5 percent) from the previous week to 62.3 cents per lb. Prices for vegetable oils have fluctuated over past weeks but with supplies in excess of demand especially for Asian crude palm oil. Nevertheless there is a growing market acceptance that total oilseed supply will eventually be limited by a sharply diminished supply of sunflower oil from Ukraine, the World’s largest exporter of this commodity. Ukraine is subject to restraints on cultivation and limits on crushing and exports due to hostilities following the invasion by the Russian Federation. It is anticipated that 41 percent of U.S. soy oil was diverted from fuel to biodiesel during 2022.


On September 6th the soybean meal spot price quoted on NASDAQ was $398 per ton, $12 per ton lower than the spot price last week and compared to a 52-week range of $389 to $439 per ton.


On September 6th Meat and Bone meal (porcine) was priced over a range of $425 to $490 per ton (Av. $465 per ton) according to the USDA National Animal By-product Feedstuffs Report, Prices quoted were for central U.S. plants but with a wide range based on composition, source and location. Price fluctuation reflects changes in soybean meal and other oilseed meals.


On September 7th the conversion of the CNY to the BRL was BRL 0.68 down CNY 0.01 from last week. The conversion of the CNY to the US$ was CNY 7.33 down CNY0.04 from the previous week as the U.S. Dollar strengthened.


For consecutive calendar years 2017 through 2019 the U.S. supplied 34.4 percent of soybean requirements for China amounting to 95.5 million metric tons. This was followed by a decline to 16.9 percent of 88.5 million metric tons in 2018 and 16.6 percent of 88.0 million metric tons in 2019. The USDA anticipated that soybean imports by China would attain 95.0 million metric tons during the 2020-2021 market year but in reality only 60.3 million tons was shipped through August 2021.


For the 2021-2022 market year net export sales of corn were down 0.13 million tons (5.1 million bushels) compared to the previous market year with cumulative exports of 59.764 million tons (2,352 million bushels) 


For the 2021-2022 market year net export sales of soybeans were down 0.11 million tons (4.2 million bushels) compared to the previous market year with cumulative exports of 57.118 million tons (2,099 million bushels) 




Subscribers are referred to the August 11th 2023 WASDE #639, in this edition and the USDA Planted Acreage Report and the quarterly Grain Stocks Report posted under the STATISTICS Tab.


Following cancellation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) there will be limited shipment of commodities from the three main Black Sea and Danube Delta ports that remain functional. Major grains (corn, wheat and barley) harvested during the 2022/2023 season will amount to 49.0 million metric tons, 42 percent lower than for 2021/2022. Exports were projected to attain 38.1 million metric tons, 26.5 percent lower than the previous market year. The Economist estimates that 10 million metric tons of agricultural commodities from the 2022/2023 harvest of 53 million metric tons are still in storage. Shipments through Black Sea ports in 2033 have attained 2.9 million metric tons through July


Either naval intervention by NATO, a negotiated peace treaty or concessions to the Russian Federation will be required to restore free passage.