According to Rabobank’s Agri Commodity Markets Outlook 2014 report, we will see more balanced fundamentals and narrower trading ranges in some — perhaps even most — markets next year. This is due in part to global inventory levels, which were rebuilding throughout 2013, they note. But they warn that any number of key variables could upset this stability, including slowing biofuel demand, commodity currency weakness and uncertainty as it relates to growth in Chinese demand.
Rabobank officials believe that supply pressures will drive corn prices lower next year, encouraging farmers to store rather than sell. It’s possible that farmers keep larger-than-anticipated stocks and China’s demand exceeds expectations, which would keep prices higher. It’s also possible that China’s demand for U.S. corn dissolves in the face of the South American corn crop, causing prices to drop more substantially, they note.
In the case of soybeans, Rabobank analysts say they expect the price to be bearish due to an expected record South American crop. Still, sustained global demand due to decreased Chinese production and low stocks will help sustain prices for a time, they note. It’s also possible that weather problems in South America will skew prices upwards, as could a repeat of last year’s logistical bottleneck in Brazil and slow farmer sell-off in Argentina. On the down side, China might purchase less soybeans than expected or U.S. farmers could plant more than expected in 2014 — and there is adequate incentive to switch corn to soybeans next year, they add.