The rally in sunflower prices at the crush plants took a breather this week as nearby prices finished the week down 10 cents to unchanged. Nearby sunflower prices have climbed almost $2.00 per cwt during the recent rally. 2020 new crop prices have also increased by around $1.50 per cwt since they rolled out this past fall. The U.S. Senate passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. Passage of USMCA is positive news for the sunflower market as it will maintain duty free access for all sunflower products in the Canadian and Mexican markets. Canada is the largest export market for U.S. sunflower oil and sunflower kernel. Mexico is the second largest export market for in-shell seed and kernel. The President also signed the Phase One agreement with China this week. Traders are uncertain over whether the partial trade agreement between the U.S. and China will lead to substantially higher sales based on the details that were released. China agreed to increased purchases of U.S. agricultural products, but only as demand allows. Chinese purchases will be based on domestic demand and commodity prices around the world. Plus, China did not make any specific commitment to alter its tariffs on U.S. products as part of Phase One. This left the market looking for real evidence that China will follow through on its pledges of more purchases, and in big amounts.
Something else to consider is the oil premiums that crush plants pay on sunflower. Sunflower is the only oilseed that pays premiums for oil content above 40%. Considering oil premiums that are offered at the crush plants on oil content above 40% at a rate of 2% price premium for each 1% of oil above 40%; this pushes a contract with 45% oil content gross return 10% higher per cwt. The AOG $18.40 contract increases to $20.25 and the cash $19.40 contract moves up to $21.35.