Commodity wrap-up

World leaders pledge huge cut in emissions

Led by President Biden, leaders of 40 Nations discussed a proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from levels established in 2005. During the two-day summit, several wealthy countries supported the recommendations while developing nations asked for financial help in responding to the effects of climate change. Canada and the United Kingdom pledged aggressive targets, and the European block agreed to spend a trillion dollars on becoming carbon-neutral by 5050.

China and Brazil will play a key role in worldwide attempts to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, which outlines scientist’s targets to avert a climate disaster. China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter and second-largest economy, supported the concept but fell short of eliminating coal consumption. They encouraged wealthier nations “to do more.”

Brazil’s attitude and commitment could be especially problematic. As the worlds’ largest producer and exporter of soybeans, they create vast amounts of greenhouse gasses while destroying the Amazon rainforest to create more farmland. In a divisive proposal, Brazil has agreed to reduce their habitat destruction, but only if the U.S. gives a billion dollars to the Bolsonaro government.

Farmers offered cash to not grow crops

In a related effort, the federal government announced a proposal to set aside four million acres for conservation this year by raising Conservation Reserve Program payments. The voluntary program would pay farmers a yearly rent to not grow crops on environmentally sensitive land.

Grains explode on fears of shortage

Corn, wheat, beans and oats exploded all week as investors, speculators, ranchers and corporate commercial buyers raced to grab every bushel they could find. On Thursday, most contracts of corn locked limit up. Fears that a multiyear drought, which is intensifying in parts of the southwest, could migrate into the corn belt seemed to be the basis for the near panic buying. Weather reports from South America were mixed, but stories of low Brazilian supplies and a chance they will need to buy corn from the U.S. continue to circulate. Strength in wheat came from reports of weather problems in Europe, Russia, Canada, and our own U.S. plains. Continued weakness in the U.S. dollar contributed tailwinds to prices of all crops all week.

July corn closed at $6.35 per bushel, wheat for July delivery at $7.14, and soybeans were $15.16 in the July contract.

Opinions are solely the writer’s. Walt Breitinger is a commodity futures broker with Paragon Investments in Silver Lake, Kan.