On Friday last, the USDA released a surprisingly bullish supply-demand report and markets took off. Chicago futures price charts now look like the arc of the Space Shuttle launch. Leading investment newspapers like Barron’s and New York Times have been carrying articles questioning whether agricultural land prices are in a “bubble”. It would appear outside investment (read hedge funds) in agricultural commodities is pushing prices higher than the supply and demand fundamentals warrant. These higher grain prices are also driving land values higher and possibly beyond the level where future cash flows can sustain inflated land values. The theme is “It’s different this time!”
This time around, pundits predict strong prices and a new higher trading level has been reached and will be around for the foreseeable future. Over the past 30 years, bull markets have often been short lived with prices coming down to the bottom end of their trading range as fast as they went up. The question today is: ‘Where will this “new paradigm” put in a new ‘higher’ bottom end of the trading range?”
Meanwhile soybean futures “in the teens” is forcing the dry edible bean market to re-think the prices needed to keep sufficient acres in production to meet global needs. Some analysts are already on record suggesting there will not be sufficient acres (down 6 to 10 % from 2007 levels) planted to meet demand. In fact the projected Supply and Demand numbers extrapolating acres and trend-line yields shows negative carry-out for 2008 into 2009 for all but a couple of dry bean market classes.
White Pea Beans are presently in the negative category.
Once the acreage battle between the field crop titans has been decided, regardless of how it turns out, there will be
no room for error for any crop.