US manufacturing activity projected for April fell to the lowest level in the last 14 years. All components of the industrial Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) were below 50 for the first time since 2009. Of the 18 key industries, contraction was recorded in 12. The industries with a PMI above 50 were oil, coal, and separate segments of the military-industrial complex, and the aircraft industry. On any other day, that news would have sent crude oil $2 to $3 lower, soybeans 15 lower, and corn 10 lower. Crude took a 60¢ hit while corn and beans got the full measure of the hit, but they came back quite nicely by the close. Crude actually closed a bit higher even after the big gains on Monday.
A warmer forecast for the Upper Midwest was also blamed for the CBOT weakness, as was profit taking after the big gains Thursday through Monday, and somewhat disappointing crush numbers for February. Of course, there was some more gloom and doom from the usual characters. Last evening’s 6 to 10 day forecast has most of North America with above to much above normal temperatures, yet early this morning corn and beans are higher.
The Argentine grain inspectors’ strike continues and it looks like employees at soybean crushing plants, docks, and numerous other labor unions will join the strike. Harvest is beginning this week and no one will be hauling the crops to crushers or ports. The world’s largest soy oil and soybean meal exporter is out of the market until the workers go back to work.