February WASDE Mostly In-line with Expectations

Rob Hatchett

Rob Hatchett

Doane Advisory Services

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) resumed its monthly schedule of World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) on Friday. The report was the agency’s first since December 11, and also included reports including December 1 soybean stocks that were scheduled for release in early January. With all of the market’s attention focused on the release, the lackluster response in futures prices suggest that many of the inputs came in as expected.

For the U.S., December 1, 2018 soybean supplies were pegged at 3.736 billion bushels, or about 101.7 million metric tons (MMT). This came in just 7 million bushels below the average of published trade guesses and is by all means a direct hit for analysts. For comparison, soybean stocks were up 18 percent from December 2017 and reminds the market of larger available supplies of U.S. soybeans this year.

USDA’s final estimate of the 2018 U.S. soybean crop saw downward revisions to both yields and harvested acreage that trimmed output by 1.5 MMT to 123.7 million tonnes. Despite the reduction, the 2018 U.S. soybean crop remains a record above 120.1 million tonnes collected last year. Projected imports were also trimmed this month resulting in a reduction in supplies of about 1.7 million tonnes. On the demand side of its balance sheet, USDA projected an upward revision to its crush forecast while trimming its export forecast. The net-result of USDA’s balance sheet changes saw projected ending stocks lowered by 1.2 million tonnes from December to 24.76 million. The table that follows gives a comparison of U.S. soybean ending stocks, along with USDA’s February projection for the current 2018/19 marketing year. This chart shows the considerably larger supplies of U.S. soybeans that are projected to be on hand by August 31, 2019.