Despite the historic damage done by superstorm Sandy, soybean and corn prices have seen little impact.
“Soybean basis levels added about one cent on Monday, but it is hard to pin that on the storm since the basis has been getting stronger as the harvest winds down,” according to Bill Nelson, senior economist, Doane Agricultural Services.
Nelson says traders’ attention is instead focused on weather developments impacting soybean production prospects in the Argentine and Brazilian crops. “There is a sense of improvement in weather forecasts for both countries which would favor more production and thus is net price bearish.” Concern remains, however, due to violent storms that have lashed the Pampas farm belt over the last three months, according to Reuters.
Sandy's impact on corn prices is also negligible. “The storm’s impact on corn prices should be limited,” says Marty Foreman, senior economist, Doane Agricultural Services. “Based on an estimate of remaining harvest in affected states, 3 to 3.5 million acres of remaining corn harvest will be delayed but dry weather following the storm should allow harvest to be completed in a timely manner.”
Foreman notes that corn futures trading volume at the CBOT on Monday was 140,501 contracts. “That’s down 25 percent to 50 percent from daily volume on days prior to the storm.”
It is difficult to estimate the impact, if any, from the absence of commodity traders in their offices along the East Coast. While the CME Group has cancelled trading activities in its New York offices due to the storm Nelson suspects traders are remaining active. “Perhaps they are still monitoring and trading beans and products using their smartphones at home.”
There may be some added harvest delays in the eastern Midwest soybean crop, according to Nelson. However, “the majority of the crop is out of the field and what remains should be mostly intact.”
Neither U.S. soybean nor corn exports will see major disruption due to the storm, according to the economists. “Exports are generally out of New Orleans and the Pacific Northwest and thus away from the storm center,” Nelson said.