Trade situation sours sunflower markets

Old and new crop sunflower prices lost ground this week under the weight of the ongoing U.S.-China trade situation. Overall the oilseed complex is under enormous pressure right now and this finally spilled over into the sunflower market, which had seen a significant uptrend in prices for most of this marketing year. Traders will be closely watching what happens on July 6, as the U.S. and China have both designated that day to enact their proposed tariffs. Sunflower planting is wrapped up in North Dakota and Minnesota, with South Dakota finishing soon. Planting is moving along in the High Plains states at or ahead of the five-year average in most states. This week, USDA will release its latest planted acres report. Traders are anxious to confirm thoughts of soybean acres showing an increase from 2017 levels. Some in the trade think total planted U.S. soybean acres could be a bit north of 90 million this year. There also continues to be rumors that USDA could look at the lack of prevent plant acres especially in North Dakota versus what they accounted for in the March intentions report and could make some acreage adjustments based on this. Traders will be positioning themselves ahead of the USDA planted acres and stocks reports. Weather forecasts and crop condition ratings will also remain top mind for traders for the near future.