Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wheat Up Again as Cold Drought Grip China, La Nina Resumes Downtrend

Chicago futures are up 10 1/2 cents at $8.4875.
After faking a bit of warming sea surface temperature anomalies in the Nino 3.4 area are heading down again, that is, La Niña is not letting go and will continue to influence weather around the world, witness the flooding in Australia and the cold and drought in China's #2 wheat growing province. Here's the most recent anomaly chart from Climate Observations:

The most recent downturn puts the anomaly at -1.8 deg. C, close to the low for this episode.
On top of that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation is firmly in the cool phase registering at -1.21 for December, this after some modestly positive numbers for the first five months of 2010.

In the U.S. drought is intensifying in Texas and into the Southeast:

NOTE: To view regional drought conditions, click on map below. State maps can be accessed from regional maps.
US Drought Monitor, January 18, 2011

This is typical of cold PDO and warm Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation combinations, as we saw in our April 2008 post "Um, folks, um, maybe we should start thinking about rebuilding our grain reserves.":

...North American Drought
Drought over north America has been correlated to the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.
North American drought frequency
The relationship between drought in the continental US and the phases of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). The most severe droughts occur when the PDO is in a negative phase, and the AMO is in a positive phase.
From McCabe (2004).

Also from spring 2008 (the last time we had this PDO-ENSO combination): 
As a follow-up to the PDO/food thoughts that ended the post below and the crop progress report yesterday, we have this snip from Minyanville:
...Donald Coxe, chief strategist of Harris Investment Management and one of my favorite analysts, spoke at my recent Strategic Investment Conference. He shared a statistic that has given me pause for concern as I watch food prices shoot up all over the world.

North America has experienced great weather for the last 18 consecutive years, which, combined with other improvements in agriculture, has resulted in abundant crops. According to Don, you have to go back 800 years to find a period of such favorable weather for so long a time....
Folks, it is not getting better.