30 March 2015 | Online since 2003

Chicago Reports

29 March 2015 | Chicago Reports
27/03/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans, meal and oil all closed lower on the day and a bit lower for the week. After starting the week with decent gains, beans have now slid a little lower in each of the last 4 trading sessions. Production in South America seems to be getting bigger (and it was already predicted to be at record levels) and US farmers are expected to "go large with that" when they begin their 2015 spring soybean planting campaign. Exactly how large they might go will be revealed by the USDA on Tuesday. An increase of 2-3 million acres on last year's 83.7 million is what most people are expecting. Considering that the USDA were only lining up at 83.5 million at their February Outlook Forum AND that they came out with a forecast that, at 81.5 million acres, was in fact more than 2 million on the low side of what eventually got planted in last year's March 31 report, then it seems entirely possible that the USDA may not go "all in" with their soybean acreage estimate quite this early in the game. The new crop soybean:corn price ratio ends the week below 2.3:1 tonight versus 2.4:1 a fortnight ago, continuing to slide into the favour of planting corn. In other news, Coceral forecast the EU-28 rapeseed crop at 21.6 MMT, down more than 10% versus 24.1 MMT a year ago. Strategie Grains however raised their forecast from 21.6 MMT to 21.9 MMT, by virtue of an extra 100 TMT each for Germany (to 5.5 MMT), Poland (2.9 MMT) and the UK (2.3 MMT). The latest commitment of traders report shows managed money sitting on a net short of around 39,000 contracts in beans as of Tuesday night. May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.67 1/4, down 7 1/4 cents; Jul 15 Soybeans closed at $9.72 1/4, down 6 1/2 cents; May 15 Soybean Meal closed at $321.40, down $1.00; May 15 Soybean Oil closed at 30.60, down 57 points. For the week that puts front month beans 6 1/2 cents lower, with meal dipping $2.60 and oil losing 8 points.

Corn: The corn market closed virtually unchanged on the day, but higher for the week, continuing to erode into the soybean:corn price ratio. The trade is gearing up for the USDA to predict a near 2 million acre switch away from corn plantings this spring. For the same reasons that they might not see as large a switch away from corn and into beans as described above, at least not at this early stage, then next Tuesday's report might come in a little bearish for corn. A year ago the USDA predicted corn plantings of 91.7 million acres, which ultimately proved to be more than a million too high. It may take until the June plantings report for the USDA to get a better handle on what has/will really go into the ground. Elsewhere, Safras e Mercado increased their forecast for the Brazilian corn crop by 1.2 MMT to 75.9 MMT, which is now 0.9 MMT higher than the USDA's estimate. The Argentine corn harvest is said to be around 7.5% complete versus 5.6% a week ago and 10% done a year ago. Coceral estimated the EU-28 corn crop to fall more than 10% this year to 66 MMT. Output in Europe's largest producing nation, France, is seen almost 8% lower at 15.68 MMT. Production in Romania will decline more than 14% to 9.82 MMT and output in Hungary will slide 18% to 7.43 MMT, they predict. FranceAgriMer said that corn planting in France is yet to really get going. Planting is just 1% complete in the Poitou-Charentes region. Crude oil slid more than $2.50/barrel today on an apparent easing of tensions in Yemen, but was still more than $2/barrel higher for the week. South Korea's KFA bought 60,000 MT of optional origin corn for November delivery in a tender. May 15 Corn is at $3.91, down 1/4 cent; Jul 15 Corn is at $3.99, down 1/4 cent. For the week, May 15 corn was 6 cents higher.

Wheat: The wheat market closed higher on the day, but lower for the week. US wheat export sales of barely more than 100 TMT revealed yesterday were the lowest in more than 25 years, according to Bloomberg. Dollar strength is really hurting US wheat sales, much more so than those for corn or soybeans, with the EU issuing export licences for more than seven times the volume of the US this past week. US winter wheat conditions on the Plains aren't great, but what does that matter if nobody but the US wants US wheat anyway? The fact that managed money is already net short around 66,000 Chicago wheat contracts is about the only other supportive factor around at the moment for US wheat. Next Tuesday's USDA acreage report is expected to predict a US all wheat acreage of around 55.7 million for the 2015 harvest, down more than a million from 56.8 million a year ago. The USDA's take on the 2014 planted area this time last year ultimately proved to be a million too low as they lined up at 55.8 million back then. Europe is seen producing less wheat, corn and barley in 2015, according to Coceral. Large carryover stocks from last year's bumper production will still keep European sellers aggressive next season though, helped by the weak euro and nearby proximity to North African and Middle Eastern buyers. There's talk of India having to import wheat after late season heavy rains and hail have had a negative impact on the quality (and possibly quantity) of their crop this year. Russia said that early spring plantings there were 1.6% complete on 840k ha. There's talk of Russia's President Putin holding a meeting on Monday to discuss spring sowing aid. May 15 CBOT Wheat is at $5.07 3/4, up 8 1/2 cents; May 15 KCBT Wheat is at $5.53, up 10 cents; May 15 MGEX Wheat is at $5.75, up 11 3/4 cents. For the week that still puts CBOT wheat 22 1/4 cents lower, with KCBT down 16 1/2 cents and MGEX losing 14 1/2 cents.

26 March 2015 | Chicago Reports
25/03/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed a little lower. A Reuters survey pegged the average trade guess for US soybean plantings in 2015 at a record 85.92 million acres, around 2.2 million up on a year ago. That's very close to the average of a Bloomberg survey which was 85.95 million acres. There's still a fairly wide difference of opinion though, with the range of guesses in the latter being 83.10 to 88.00 million. The quarterly stocks estimates average 1.348 billion bushels – the most since 2012 - with the range of estimates being 1.250 to 1.413 billion. CWB estimated the 2015/16 global soybean crop at 299.0 MMT, down 5.1% versus 315.1 MMT in 2014/15. Dr Cordonnier said that the Brazilian soybean crop is 61% harvested nationally, around 4 points behind this time last year. Mato Grosso, the country's largest producing state, is already 90% complete, and Parana, the second largest is 68% done. In the south progress is slower, with Brazil's third largest state of Rio Grande do Sul only 11% complete. Early yields there are very good, and could possibly set a record this year, he said. Early Argentine soybean yields are "outstanding" he adds. Harvesting there is only 1-2% complete so far however. The new crop soybean:corn ratio is down to 2.29:1 tonight, favouring planting corn, weather permitting. Unfortunately the weather isn't permitting at the moment, favouring later planted beans. Tomorrow's weekly export sales for beans are only expected to be around 200-450 TMT as demand continues to switch to South America. Reports suggest that Brazilian truckers are planning more strike action and road blockages next week. May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.78 3/4, down 3 cents; Jul 15 Soybeans closed at $9.82 1/2, down 4 cents; May 15 Soybean Meal closed at $324.50, down $1.80; May 15 Soybean Oil closed at 31.04, down 7 points.

Corn: The corn market posted small gains. "Corn posted mixed trade with a firmer bias as new highs for the move posted overnight set the tone. Short covering due to the perception that the funds are still caught a touch too short remains the feature," said Benson Quinn. A Reuters survey estimated 2015 US corn plantings at 88.73 million acres. A Bloomberg survey said 88.83 million, with a range of guesses of 87.0 to 89.9 million. Plantings were 90.6 million last year. The market is conscious that early corn planting in the Deep South is already well behind schedule. A hard cold snap further north offers little prospect for fieldwork to begin in the Midwest either. For quarterly stocks due next Tuesday the average trade guess is just over 7.6 billion bushels from within a range of 7.459-7.800 billion and versus 7.008 billion a year ago. South Africa's CEC estimated the country's corn crop at 9.67 MMT, the smallest since 2007. CWB estimated the 2015/16 global corn crop at 973.5 MMT, down 1.6% versus 989.7 MMT this season. The US Energy Dept reported that weekly ethanol production expanded to 953,000 barrels/day from 947,000 bpd the previous week. The USDA announced 114,000 MT of US corn sold to Mexico for 2014-15 delivery. Prices are now nudging the $4/bushel level. It will be interesting to see if the market can break through this level and hold, it hasn't managed a close above $4/bushel since Jan 12. "There is also a pretty significant short call position at the 400 strike, which may draw some interest between now and Friday afternoon," said Benson Quinn. Weekly export sales for corn tomorrow may come in at around 500-700 TMT. May 15 Corn closed at $3.95, up 1 3/4 cents; Jul 15 Corn closed at $4.03, up 1 3/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed around 1-4 cents lower spread across the three exchanges. A Bloomberg survey puts the US all wheat acreage at 55.670 million acres, from within a range of estimates of 54.950-56.800 million and 56.822 a year ago. Mar 1 stocks are estimated at 1.141 billion bushels, from within a range of 1.083-1.200 billion and 1.057 billion a year ago. China only sold 5.4% of the imported wheat stocks it offered up at auction today, along with 37% of the domestic wheat reserves. The CWB estimated the 2015/16 global wheat crop at 703.4 MMT, down 2.95% from 724.8 MMT last year. They see Canadian production at 28.7 MMT versus 29.3 MMT in 2014/15. They see US exports expanding 12.65% from 24.5 MMT in 2014/15 to 27.6 MMT in the season ahead. The EU will retain top spot in the global wheat export league table though with shipments up from 31.5 MMT this season to 32.35 MMT, for growth of 2.7%. It would seem that both Europe and the US will benefit from reduced production and exports from Canada, Russia and the Ukraine, according to the CWB. Canada's 2015/16 wheat exports will decline almost 11% to 20.75 MMT, they estimate. Russia's spring plantings are 1.4% complete on 731k ha, say their Ag Ministry. Ukraine's early spring grain planting is said to be 30% compete. Iran bought 80,000 MT of German and Black Sea origin wheat in a tender for April shipment. Japan are tendering for 9,590 MT of feed wheat and 75,000 MT of barley in a tender for June shipment. There are forecasts for some much needed rain in some of the drier US HRW wheat areas, although such forecasts have frequently disappointed of late. Weekly export sales for wheat tomorrow are expected to be around 400-600 TMT. May 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.19, down 4 1/2 cents; May 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.63, down 2 1/4 cents; May 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.80 3/4, down 1 cent.

25 March 2015 | Chicago Reports
24/03/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed a little lower. Trade focus is now firmly on next week's USDA planting intentions and quarterly stocks report from the USDA. Dr Cordonnier, in his first estimate for US plantings in 2015, estimated that American farmers would sow 85-86 million acres of soybean this spring/early summer. That would be a new record, and one that is up 1.3-2.3 million acres on last year, although it's lower than Informa's 87.5 million and Farm Futures Magazine's 87.3 million forecasts from last week. Recall that the USDA were only at 83.5 million in their February Outlook Forum, so it may be that the leap from that figure up closer to 87+ million is simply too big for them to take in one big jump at this early stage in the game. We will know next week. Very early corn planting in southern states is well behind normal for this time, which may mean ultimately more beans getting planted than originally intended. As far as quarterly stocks go, the average trade guess for those as of March 1 is 1.348 billion bushels, according to a Bloomberg survey. "There is talk of Brazilian truckers reorganising their coup. Short futures position holders may be giving it some respect. I doubt the cash trade in the US or Brazil has much interest this go around," said Benson Quinn. Their harvest is now well past halfway done, and yields aren't disappointing, whilst early Argentine yields have been impressive too, they add. South America's much talked about huge soybean crop looks like it is a reality. That makes prices continuing to nudge $10/bu look high, especially with US growers also looking set to "go large" with their plantings this year. May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.81 3/4, down 1 3/4 cents; Jul 15 Soybeans closed at $9.86 1/2, down 1 1/2 cents; May 15 Soybean Meal closed at $326.30, down $1.00; May 15 Soybean Oil closed at 31.11, down 4 points.

Corn: The corn market closed around 3 cents higher. "Today’s strength in corn seemed to be a function of the technicals in the corn market. Funds are estimated to be short corn at the moment and short covering was assumed the catalyst for corn’s most recent rally," said Benson Quinn. Dr Cordonnier pegged US 2015 corn plantings at 89 million acres, down 1.6 million on a year ago. That's not far away from Informa's 88.5 million acres and Farm Futures Magazine's 88.34 million acres from last week. Wet weather is delaying early corn planting in the south. Texas is only 14% complete versus 19% a year ago and 28% on average at this time. Louisianna is only 1% done versus 17% a year ago and 48% on average. They haven't even started in Arkansas which was 8% complete a year ago and is normally 11% done by now. Based on tonight's closes the Nov 15 soybean: Dec 15 corn ratio is down to 2.3:1 versus 2.4:1 at the beginning of last week, which may be favouring a bit more corn to get planted, weather permitting. US growers will be conscious though that corn is a more input hungry crop, and some may be looking to cut their costs a little in the 2015/16 crop year. Further north, the weather isn't yet showing any signs of aiding early fieldwork. "Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota are particularly dry, reporting soil moisture deficits of 1.5 -2.5 inches in the recent 45 days. With warming temperatures in spring, rainfall typically begins increasing. Very generous spring rainfall would be required to completely replenish dry fields. Corn planting is not due to begin until late April. Midwest temperatures have fluctuated wildly in recent weeks. February was very cold, among the lowest 10% on record. As a result, deep-penetrating frost developed on corn farms, without sufficient snow to insulate fields. Midwest cold is expected to continue in the upcoming with temperatures 5-10 F below average," say Martell Crop Projections. The average trade guess for March 1 US corn stocks is 7.609 billion bushels, according to a Bloomberg survey. May 15 Corn closed at $3.93 1/4, up 3 cents; Jul 15 Corn closed at $4.01 1/4, up 3 1/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed lower across all three exchanges in a correction from the recent rally. The fact that Kansas good to excellent wheat ratings were unchanged week on week, and that winter wheat in Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas showed an improvement was seen as a bearish surprise. The US crop isn't out of the woods yet though, with sub-zero temperatures on the cards over the next few days as the jet stream carves out a deep, cold trough over the eastern half of the United States, forecast Martell Crop Projections. Dryness also remains an issue. Oman were said to have bought one cargo of Russian wheat for July-August shipment. Algeria are tendering for 50,000 MT of optional origin wheat for July shipment. The USDA's FAS in South Africa estimated that the country would plant no more than 450,000 ha of wheat for the 2015/16 crop, a record low, as growers turn to other more profitable crops. They forecast imports next season rising to 1.9 MMT. Russia, Ukraine and Germany are the main wheat exporters to South Africa, so those three countries stand to benefit the most. South Africa imported 1.7 MMT of wheat in 2013/14, of which 810 TMT came from Russia (48%), 373 TMT from Ukraine (22%) and 179 TMT from Germany (11%). UkrAgroConsult estimated Ukraine’s 2015 wheat crop at 20.6 MMT, down 8.4% from 22.5 MMT in 2014. The USDA attaché in the Philippines estimated the country's 2014/15 wheat imports at 3.95 MMT, up 13% from a year previously. These will rise to around 4.0 MMT in 2015/16, they said. There's much debate over the health, or otherwise, of Russian and Ukraine winter grains as the crops emerge from dormancy. There's also lots of speculation regarding farmer access to credit, and their ability to successfully fund the spring planting campaign. Russian seed prices are said to be 40-60% higher than they were 12 months ago, with agrochemical prices up 40-50% and fertiliser levels running around 45% higher. Russian short-term loan interest rates are at least 22% versus 12% a year ago. May 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.23 1/2, down 10 1/2 cents; May 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.65 1/4, down 9 1/4 cents; May 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.81 3/4, down 8 1/4 cents.

24 March 2015 | Chicago Reports
23/03/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed around 8-10 cents higher, helped by the weaker US dollar. Weekly export inspections of 519,464 MT were relatively "ordinary" and appear to confirm that demand is finally switching to Brazil. That was down from 584,532 MT last week and below 736,520 MT for same week a year ago. Still, US exporters have already shipped 90% of USDA’s target for the year. China reported Feb soybean imports (traditionally a quiet month) at 4.26 MMT, but still down 11% from Feb 2014. Argentine markets are closed today and tomorrow for a holiday. South Korea's NOFI were said to have bought 55,000 MT of South American soymeal for September shipment. Ag Canada forecast this year's Canadian rapeseed crop at 16 MMT, unchanged from previously and up 400,000 MT versus a year ago. MARS forecast EU rapeseed yields to fall 9.4% this year, with German yields down 14.1% and those in Hungary set to slump more than 20%. The trade is now looking to next week's planting intentions numbers from the USDA. Last year's US soybean area was 83.7 million acres. The trade is forecasting this rising to a record 87.0-87.5 million this year, although the USDA actually went for a small decline to 83.5 million in their February Outlook Forum. Also due on Mar 31 are the quarterly stocks numbers. May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.83 1/2, up 9 3/4 cents; Jul 15 Soybeans closed at $9.88, up 10 cents; May 15 Soybean Meal closed at $327.30, up $3.30; May 15 Soybean Oil closed at 31.15, up 47 points.

Corn: The corn market ended around 5 cents higher as the US dollar fell to its lowest level since the first week in March. US weekly export inspections of 994,666 MT were also friendly being well above the previous week. US exporters have now shipped 47% of the USDA’s target for the year. Typically though that would be around 52% normally at this time. Sorghum shipments remain strong, especially into China as a corn replacement. These are already 71% of USDA’s target for the year versus 55% typically at this time. Chinese Customs data shows February corn imports of 574,000 MT from Ukraine, and only 13,600 MT from the US. That means that around 95% of China's corn imports were of Ukraine origin last month, and that these were nearly three time the size of imports from Ukraine a year previously. Russia said that they exported 531 TMT of corn in the Feb 1 - Mar 18 period, which is 34% less than a year ago. Their corn exports so far this season are a little under 1.8 MMT. Ukraine's corn exports meanwhile are well in excess of 12 MMT so far. The US attaché in South Africa is now forecasting their corn crop at only 10.4 MMT, more than 1 MMT below the official USDA estimate of 11.5 MMT. Zambia said that they plan to export 800,000 MT of white (food grade) corn to neighbouring countries after producing their largest ever harvest. MARS forecast EU-28 corn yields to decline 4.3% to 7.19 MT/ha this year. Trade ideas for next week's US corn planting intentions are around 88.0-88.5 million acres versus 90.6 million a year ago. May 15 Corn closed at $3.90 1/4, up 5 1/4 cents; Jul 15 Corn closed at $3.98, up 5 1/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed higher, but at only around the middle of the day's trading range. The trade remains concerned over US winter wheat conditions, especially with the fund community having built up a sizeable short position in Chicago wheat. "Dry field conditions are a threat to the US winter wheat yields for the 2015 harvest, as 3 of the 4 leading wheat states are struggling from drought. A 1.8 inch moisture deficit has built up in central Kansas in recent weeks, while Oklahoma has received just 20-40% of normal rainfall over the past 45 days. These are the top 2 bread wheat states making up 54% of hard red winter wheat all together," said Martell Crop Projections. There's also now the threat of sub-zero temperatures to hit the central and part of the southern Plains later this week. Minneapolis (spring) wheat markets thus posted less impressive gains that the winter wheat markets of Chicago and Kansas today. Kansas wheat was rated 41% good to excellent today, unchanged from a week ago. Weekly US all wheat export inspections of 511,069 MT were fairly respectable. Russia said that it had exported 829 TMT of wheat since the export duty was introduced on Feb 1, which is 34% down versus the same period a year ago. Bangladesh are in for 100 TMT of wheat. There are some reports of significant damage being done to Indian wheat, with heavy rains and hail flattening crops just prior to harvesting. MARS forecast EU-28 soft wheat yields down 4.8% at 5.29 MT/ha this year. Ag Canada is projecting 2015/16 wheat production there at 29.5 MMT, which is down a little from previous forecasts. May 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.34, up 4 cents; May 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.74 1/2, up 5 cents; May 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.90, up 1/2 cent.

19 March 2015 | Chicago Reports
18/03/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed around 10 cents higher in a rebound from recent losses. May 15 beans opened near Tuesday’s low of $9.53 1/2 but edged higher after that level held. Yesterday's close of $9.54 1/2 was the lowest close for a front month since October, and took out the oft-seen early February low of $9.59 1/2 set on Feb 2. A Fed statement, which appeared to indicate that a US interest rate rise wasn't likely to be on the cards this year, sent the dollar tumbling from recent highs. It may also have encouraged a bit of spec money to come back into commodities, some are saying. Both will have helped the entire grains sector today. Oil World estimated the Brazilian soybean crop at 93.8 MMT, which is in line with other trade forecasts. Dr Cordonnier was unchanged on his forecast for Brazil at 93 MMT. Bear in mind of course that any rise in soybean prices is friendly for US spring plantings. Farm Futures Magazine estimated these at a record 87.3 million acres in 2015, up 3.6 million from the previous year. It is however not as high as was thought likely earlier in the year. The US soybean:corn price ratio on new crop is less than 2.4:1 tonight versus 2.7:1 last August. Informa are due to release their US acreage numbers on Friday, before we get the USDA themselves on Mar 31. I can find no "official" trade estimates for tomorrow's weekly export sales report, but I'd expect that for beans the market is looking in the region of 250-300 TMT as demand switched to Brazil. May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.65, up 10 1/2 cents; Jul 15 Soybeans closed at $9.69 3/4, up 10 1/4 cents; May 15 Soybean Meal closed at $320.80, up $3.30; May 15 Soybean Oil closed at 30.63, up 59 points.

Corn: The corn market ended the best part of 4 cents higher, recovering around half of yesterday's losses. Futures traded higher following the decline of the US dollar following the FED's monetary policy statement. That indicated that US interest rate hikes will likely be at a slower pace than previously thought due to the more moderating growth in the US economy seen recently. Farm Futures Magazine estimated the 2015 US corn area at 88.34 million acres, down from 88.5 in their previous survey and 2.3 million below last year. Interestingly, new popular kid on the block sorghum is seen having its planted area increased 18% to 8.4 million acres. The Rosario Exchange estimated the Argentine corn crop at 23.5 MMT. South Korea's KOCOPIA bought 54,000 MT of corn, and the country's KFA were said to have bought around 60,000 MT of corn in tender. Both purchases were said to have been of optional origin, but most likely will end up being sourced from Brazil. Some trade reports suggest that Brazilian corn is possibly even working its way into the SE of the US. There are also reports of Brazilian ethanol heading to the US, helped by low freight rates and the weak Brazilian real. The US Energy Dept reported weekly US ethanol production up to 947,000 barrels/day this past week versus 944,000 bpd the previous week and 931,000 bpd the week before that. It is also better than the 891,00 bpd produced this week a year ago. Stocks were reported at 20.820 million barrels, which is 353,000 barrels lower than last week. Stocks have now fallen three weeks in a row. I'd expect the market to be looking for weekly corn export sales of around 500-700 TMT tomorrow. May 15 Corn closed at $3.74 3/4, up 3 3/4 cents; Jul 15 Corn closed at $3.82 3/4, up 3 3/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed around 7-10 cents higher, benefiting from the weaker US dollar, even if it's far too soon to see that being translated into increased US exports. There's still talk of significant winterkill damage to wheat in parts of Kansas and Nebraska. There's also chatter of dryness issues in Kansas and Oklahoma in particular. In Kansas, the leading US wheat state, dry conditions have stressed wheat leading to a rather mediocre crop rated only 41% good-excellent, 46% fair and 13% poor-very poor, said Martell Crop Projections. Things are even worse in Oklahoma - the driest of the 3 main bread wheat states. "Producers reported that subsoil moisture was 70% short-very short, 29% adequate and only 1% surplus. Rainfall is needed soon to preserve chances for a favourable yield. Jointing, the rapid vertical growth stage that demands generous rainfall, was already 19% underway in mid March," they note. These worries come as fund money is sitting on a sizeable short position in wheat. In other news, Farm Futures Magazine estimated the 2015 US all wheat area at 55.6 million acres, down from their 57.6 million estimate in January. Spring wheat plantings were forecast at 13.4 million. Media reports suggest that China has bought 400-500 TMT of high protein wheat from various sources in the past few days. Tomorrow's weekly export sales report will be of interest. Last week's sales were pretty good at 445,200 MT for delivery in the 2014/15 marketing year. That was up 21 percent from the prior 4-week average. Tomorrow I'd expect the trade to be hoping for something of a similar magnitude, but expecting maybe 300-400 TMT. May 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.10 3/4, up 7 1/4 cents; May 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.53, up 10 1/4 cents; May 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.78, up 8 1/4 cents.

19 March 2015 | Chicago Reports
17/03/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed lower, under pressure from the ongoing South American harvest, with funds selling an estimated net 8,000 contracts on the day - which is the equivalent of over 1 MMT. Front month May 15 beans closed within 5 cents of a slump below $9.50/bushel. These levels may not be setting US farmers' hearts racing, but the acute weakness of the Brazilian real relative to the US dollar still makes things reasonably attractive for the Brazilian grower. Corn fell too, in fact by more in percentage terms (down 2.1% versus a daily fall of 1.5% in soybeans), which won't help to make planting that any more attractive to the US grower than beans this spring. Attention is now starting to focus on the USDA's planting intentions report due Mar 31. May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.54 1/2, down 14 3/4 cents; Jul 15 Soybeans closed at $9.59 1/2, down 14 1/4 cents; May 15 Soybean Meal closed at $317.50, down $6.20; May 15 Soybean Oil closed at 30.04, down 35 points.

Corn: The corn market closed sharply lower. Fresh news was generally lacking, and what was out there was bearish. "Generally speaking most commodities were lower on the day with corn setting the pace in the grains. Lack of supportive fundamentals and bearish news continues to mount," said Benson Quinn Commodities. Safras e Mercado reported that planting of the Brazilian safrinha corn crop was now 93% complete versus 85% a year ago. Reuters reported that China had bought more than 600 TMT of Ukraine corn since the beginning of the year. China continues to shy away from US corn due to GMO problems. South Korea reportedly purchased 205 TMT of Brazilian corn for September shipment overnight. The weak Brazilian real/strong US dollar story is as bearish for corn as it is for soybeans, with corn offers out of Brazil very competitive compared to US corn on the Gulf. Ahead of the USDA's plantings report, Informa are due to release their acreage estimates on Friday. Before that, the US Energy Dept are out tomorrow with their latest ethanol production and stocks data. May 15 Corn closed at $3.71, down 8 cents; Jul 15 Corn closed at $3.79, also down 8 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed lower, unable to hold onto overnight grains amid falling corn and soybeans. Early strength in wheat was probably tied to news that the proportion of Kansas winter wheat rated good to excellent fell from 46% to 41% during the past week. Oklahoma was down from 42% to 40% in the top two categories too. "Despite the wheat markets trading lower, there’s (still) reason to believe the trade is still wary of the net short fund position in the winter wheat markets," suggested Benson Quinn. They're probably right, but the downwards pull of soybeans and corn proved too much to resist, with funds selling an estimated net 3,000 Chicago wheat contracts on the day. There's a chance of limited light rains for the dry parts of the southern Plains, but a drought buster they won't be. The strength of the US dollar remains a problem for US wheat exports. The trade will therefore be hanging on every word from the Fed tomorrow, when it is due to release its latest statement concerning the US economy and maybe provide a clue to when US interest rates will start to rise. May 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.03 1/2, down 10 1/2 cents; May 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.42 3/4, down 12 1/4 cents; May 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.69 3/4, down 11 1/4 cents.

18 March 2015 | Chicago Reports
16/03/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed a touch lower in low volume trade. There wasn't a huge amount of fresh news. Weekly export inspections came in at 583,944 MT, down from 625,713 MT last week and well below 950,885 MT a year ago. Cumulative shipments are still 4.2 MMT higher than a year ago though. The Feb NOPA crush came in at 146.97 million bushels, down from down from 162.7 million but up versus 141.6 million last February and a second highest ever volume for that particular short month. The South American harvest rumbles on, and they are now past halfway done in Brazil. Copa Cogeca pegged the EU 2015 rapeseed crop down nearly 7% on a year ago at a 3-year low of 21.95 MMT. EU rapeseed consumption will total nearly 26 MMT in the current season, according to the USDA. That will mean increased imports nest season, although the nearest regular major supplier, Ukraine, will also have a reduced crop this year by the looks of things. That could mean more rapeseed being sought from farther afield, and possibly increased soybean demand as an alternative. May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.69 1/4, down 4 3/4 cents; Jul 15 Soybeans closed at $9.73 3/4, down 4 1/4 cents; May 15 Soybean Meal closed at $323.70, down $3.30; May 15 Soybean Oil closed at 30.39, down 10 points.

Corn: The corn market closed with small losses in a "no news" sort of a day. Safrinha corn planting in Mato Grosso is said to be 89% complete, up from 76% a week ago. Weekly corn export inspections only came in at 735,311 MT, well below the 1.18 million MT from the previous week and also below the 976,742 MT for the same week last year. Sorghum export inspections were very strong, as that grain continues to find good buying interest from China as a corn alternative. Copa Cogeca estimated the EU-28 corn crop this year down 4.6% on a year ago at 68.92 MMT, although that would still be the second highest on record. Production in leading nation France is seen 6% lower at 15.9 MMT. Output from Europe's second largest producer, Romania, will slip 7% to 10.5 MMT, whilst third biggest nation, Hungary, will be around unchanged at 8.9 MMT. Ukraine said that they'd exported 25.65 MMT of grains so far this season, of which 12.05 MMT (47%) was corn. Russia said that they'd shipped out a very similar volume, 25.15 MMT, although the proportion of corn (at 1.65 MMT is only 6.6%) is much lower. Both countries are expected to major on corn exports for the remainder of the season. South Korea is tendering for 3 cargoes of optional origin corn for October shipment. May 15 Corn is at $3.79, down 1 1/2 cents; Jul 15 Corn is at $3.87, down 1 cent.

Wheat: The wheat market closed higher, with double digit gains across the nears on all three exchanges, as weather concerns prompted short-covering. As we have seen before with the wheat market, once fund positions have built up a sizeable short, such as the one they have held recently, it sometimes doesn't take a lot to get them spooked into closing these out. "Areas of significant winterkill are being reported from west-central, northwest and north-central Kansas, as well as southcentral Nebraska," said Arlan Suderman of Farm Futures Magazine. There are also said to be dryness issues on the US southern Plains. Support also came from fairly decent export inspections of 519,592 MT, up sharply from 376,210 MT the previous wee and also above the same week a year ago. Copa Cogeca estimated the 2015 EU-28 soft wheat crop down 6.5% year-on-year at 138.42 MMT. Whilst output in France is seen around unchanged levels (Friday's crop ratings there at 91% good to very good were the highest in 5 years), significantly lower production is expected from Germany (down 9.2%), the UK (down 15.9%) and Poland (down 14.3%). Morocco said that it had imported 3.14 MMT of grains in the first seven months of 2014/15, which is 69% more than a year previously. That includes 1.2 MMT of wheat (excl durum), up from only 130 TMT in 2013/14. May 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.14, up 12 cents; May 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.55, up 15 3/4 cents; May 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.81, up 13 1/2 cents.

12 March 2015 | Chicago Reports
11/03/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed higher, despite the firmer dollar. "The price action was corrective, but lacked the aggressive buying the market has seen on other recoveries. The tone for today’s session was set overnight as traders booked profits on short positions," said Benson Quinn. Argentine growers began a 3-day strike today. The Argentine producer is said to be 82% sold on his old crop soybeans and 13.6% committed on new crop. An outbreak of what officials are calling a "highly pathogenic" strain of bird flu in Arkansas got some media attention. So too did Allendale estimating 2015 US soybean plantings at over 86 million acres (a record) versus 83.7 million a year ago. The USDA will update us with their view on potential plantings on Mar 31. Before that we get the regular weekly export sales report tomorrow. Last week's bean sales were 499,500 MT for 2014/15 and a small quantity of new crop. The trade is probably looking for something a little lower this time round, 350-450 TMT, as demand continues to switch to South America. Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $9.89, up 9 cents; May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.92 3/4, up 8 1/4 cents; Mar 15 Soybean Meal closed at $345.70, up $3.70; Mar 15 Soybean Oil closed at 30.97, up 13 points.

Corn: The corn market closed around 2-3 cents higher. There was apparently no agreement between the Brazilian truckers and the government in yesterday's meeting, with a rescheduled date now set for Mar 26. We almost certainly haven't heard the last of this issue. Argentine growers are now on strike for three days, and dock workers will undoubtedly also try their hand when the harvest gets going in earnest. In a nutshell, the usual logistical problems can be expected in South America again this spring. Argentine farmers are fully sold on old crop corn and 26.5% committed on new crop, according to their Ag Ministry. This time a year ago they were only 12.4% sold on new crop. Allendale estimated US 2015 corn plantings at 88.5 million acres, down 2.3% on a year ago and the smallest area since 2010. Farmers are unhappy with current prices, and the fact that their input costs for corn are much higher than for soybeans, they said. US ethanol production rose to 944,000 barrels/day last week, up from 931,000 bpd the previous week, according to the US Energy Dept. Weekly export sales tomorrow are expected in the 600-800,000 MT range. Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.84, up 1 3/4 cents; May 15 Corn closed at $3.91, up 3 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed higher. Chicago wheat has now been up for four straight sessions, which is actually its best run of 2015 so far. There's talk of dryness on the Southern Plains, which is maybe encouraging some short-covering and/or profit-taking. Fund money was sitting on a hefty short position in Chicago wheat last week you will recall. The strong US dollar however continues to hamper US export prospects. Weekly export sales tomorrow with therefore be of interest. Last week's sales of 469,600 MT for delivery in the 2014/15 marketing year were inflated by the special line of credit granted to Egypt to buy US HRW wheat. I'd expect this week's sales to be lower, in the 250-350,000 MT region. South Korea are tendering for 47,000 MT of Australian wheat for Aug delivery. Taiwan are in the market for 83,950 MT of US milling wheat for Apr-May shipment. Japan are in for a 109,000 MT mixture of US, Canadian and Australian wheat in their regular weekly tender. The Argentine grower is still said to have 17% of his old crop wheat left to sell, along with 40% of his new crop. Rusagrotrans forecast Russia's March grain exports at 1 MMT, with barley accounting for 40% of that total, wheat 35% and corn 30%. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.03, up 6 1/2 cents; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.38 1/2, up 3 3/4 cents; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.54 1/2, up 2 3/4 cents.

11 March 2015 | Chicago Reports
10/03/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed lower, after the release of the March USDA WASDE report. That left global production in 2014/15 completely unchanged, contrary to trade expectations for a reduction in output in Brazil and a rise in Argentina. Chinese imports were also unchanged at 74 MMT, as were US, Brazilian and Argentine exports. The world crush was lowered a little to 254.2 MMT, courtesy of India, with global ending stocks raised a fraction to 89.5 MMT - up 35% on a year ago. US 2014/15 soybean ending stocks were unchanged on last month at 385 million bushels (10.48 MMT), with the trade expecting a reduction to around 377 million bushels. Interestingly, US analyst Alan Brugler reports that final US soybean demand has been larger than the March WASDE estimate every year since 1990 except for 2010/11. Elsewhere, CONAB cut their estimate for Brazil's 2014/15 soybean crop from the 94.6 MMT forecast previously to 93.3 MMT, which is now 1.2 MMT lower than today's unchanged USDA forecast. Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $9.80, down 8 1/4 cents; May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.84 1/2, down 8 3/4 cents; Mar 15 Soybean Meal closed at $342.00, down $1.90; Mar 15 Soybean Oil closed at 30.84, down 4 points.

Corn: The corn market ended a tad lower, failing to hold onto early modest gains. These were tied to the fact that the USDA lowered US 2014/15 corn ending stocks more than anticipated. They cut this year’s ending stocks to 1.777 billion bushels versus 1.827 billion previously and the 1.822 billion average trade guess. US 2014/15 exports were raised 1.0 MMT to 45.5 MMT "on recent strong sales and shipments and a longer-than-expected window of competitiveness compared with Brazil and Argentina". Argentine exports were also raised 1 MMT to 14.5 MMT, with Brazil's seen unchanged at 22 MMT. Argentine output was increased by 500,000 MT to 23.5 MMT, which was in line with trade forecasts. Brazil's crop was unchanged at 75 MMT. Production in South Africa was lowered 2 MMT, as expected, to 11.5 MMT. There was no change for Chinese imports, which were left at 2.5 MMT. There were no changes to corn ending stocks among the leading exporting nations, but "others" were cut by more than 4 MMT, taking global carryout down from the 189.6 MMT forecast a month ago to 185.3 MMT. In other news, the USDA announced a 107,255 MT export sale of sorghum to China for 2015/16 delivery as they continue to import large quantities of other alternative coarse grains. Chinese barley imports were also increased by 1.5 MMT to 6 MMT. Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.82 1/4, down 1 cent; May 15 Corn closed at $3.88, down 3/4 cent.

Wheat: The wheat market closed higher as the USDA trimmed back 2014/15 US all wheat ending stocks a tad from 692 million bushels to 691 million. The trade was expecting an increase to around 703 million. US 2014/15 exports were seen unchanged at 25 MMT. Some were expecting a reduction there given the strength of the US dollar and recent largely disappointing export sales. On a global level, world ending stocks were little changed at 197.7 MMT, as was consumption at 714.5 MMT. World exports too were virtually unchanged at just over 160 MMT, with the EU grabbing a larger share of the cake (up 500,000 MT to 31.5 MMT) and Argentina a smaller slice (down 500,000 MT to 5.5 MMT). In other news, in Brazil the Parana wheat area for new crop is seen virtually unchanged, despite local prices having fallen 26% year-on-year. This is due to the fact that soybeans in the state were planted late, meaning that the optimum time for planting safrinha corn is already passed. This leaves the state's growers with a stark choice between planting wheat of nothing. Winter wheat planting usually takes place April/May, and production later this year is currently estimated 8% higher than last year's frost damaged crop at 4.1 MMT - which is about two thirds of national production. The Indonesia Flour Millers Association estimated the nation's wheat imports up 5.5% at a record 7.8 MMT versus the USDA's 7.7 MMT estimate. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $4.96 1/2, up 2 1/4 cents; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.34 3/4, up 5 3/4 cents; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.51 3/4, up 3 1/2 cents.

10 March 2015 | Chicago Reports
09/03/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed higher on short covering and position squaring ahead of tomorrow's USDA report. Weekly export inspections of 625,713 MT were slightly down on the previous week, but in line with expectations. There's some talk that the Brazilian truckers strike could re-ignite if this week's talks with the government don't go well. Reuters reported 82 vessels waiting to load soybeans in the country as of Friday, up from 51 ships the previous Friday. The USDA's FAS estimated China's soybean import needs at 73 MMT, up 3.7% on last season but 1 MMT below the current USDA number. They see 2015/16 imports continuing to rise though, up 6.2% to a record 77.5 MMT next season. Chinese soybean production next season meanwhile will fall to a 23-year low of 11.7 MMT, they said. Dr Cordonnier said that soybean yields in Brazil's top producing state of Mato Grosso are only up 3% in the last 15 years, versus 17% nationally and up 46% in Rio Grande do Sul. The retarded growth is due to the new trend towards planting more and more early maturing varieties so that a second corn crop can be squeezed in, he said. The safrinha corn area in Mato Grosso has expanded 12-fold in the same time period, he added. Brazil's 2014/15 harvest is said to be around 40-50% complete, with production estimates getting trimmed to around the 93 MMT mark. The USDA were 94.5 MMT last month. The average trade guess for Argentina tomorrow though is closer to 57 MMT than the 56 MMT forecast by the USDA in February. US soybean ending stocks are forecast to be pared back from last month's 385 million bushels to around 377 million. Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $9.88 1/4, up 9 cents; May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.93 1/4, up 8 1/4 cents; Mar 15 Soybean Meal closed at $343.90, up $6.90; Mar 15 Soybean Oil closed at 30.88, down 26 points.

Corn: The corn market closed around 2-4 cents firmer. Another robust set of weekly export inspections, almost reaching 1.2 MMT, added some support despite the strong US dollar. This figure was slightly lower than last week's near 1.3 MMT total, but still beat expectations. Notable destinations were Korea (260,840 MT), Japan (175,587 MT) and Columbia (153,783 MT). Even so, year to date inspections are still lagging the 5-year average pace of 47.5% of the USDA target for the season by 3 percentage points. Tomorrow's USDA report isn't expected to reveal anything too different for corn than the February report. The range of US carryout expectations is from 1.777 – 1.899 billion bushels. The average guess is 1.827 billion, which is only slightly lower than their February figure of 1.822 billion. As with soybeans, there could be a small reduction to the size of the 2014/15 Brazilian crop, although this could be counterbalanced by a corresponding rise in Argentina. South Africa's crop will likely be cut. Brazil's first corn crop harvest is well advanced and sowning of the safrinha crop is past three quarters done. Argentina's 2014/15 harvest is just getting going, held back by heavy rain. Ukraine is now concentrating almost all of it's export effort on corn. APK Inform Agency said that Ukraine seaports exported 648,600 MT of grains last week, with corn shipments accounting for 563,300 MT, or 87%, of that total. Russia said that as of Mar 4 they had exported 1.6 MMT of corn this season. The early planting state of Texas is 6% sown with their 2015 corn crop already, although that's less than the 15% 5-year average at this time. "Today’s trade felt a lot more about tomorrow’s reports than today’s news with pre-report positioning taking place. Weak shorts seemed to be in the market early trying to cover and the balance of the day was quiet," said Benson Quinn. Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.83 1/4, up 4 cents; May 15 Corn closed at $3.88 3/4, up 2 3/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market made a fair attempt to lead the entire complex higher overnight, although ending with decent gains it only finished around the middle of the day's trading range. Much of today's gains can probably be linked to the fact that fund money is now sitting on a very sizable short in Chicago wheat, and decided to bank a few profits ahead of tomorrow's USDA report just in case Washington decides to spring a surprise. We all know that they are capable of throwing in a bit of a curveball sometimes, although it may be unlikely that the March report is the one in which they will do so. "Talk of dry conditions in the near term in the southern plains, N. Europe and portions of the Black Sea region complemented today’s technical move. Given the time of the year and a slightly drier bias for many key wheat growing areas, some weather premium in these markets is merited," said Benson Quinn's Brian Henry. Few would bet that the wheat market, particularly that in the US, has turned around just yet though. The US dollar continues to thwart US export hopes. Weekly export inspections today were 376,210 MT, well below the 480,754 MT inspected last week, as Europe keeps picking up the lion's share of the business aided by the weak euro. The lack of US exports means that the USDA are expected to raise US all wheat ending stocks for 2014/15 by around 10 million bushels to 703 million in tomorrow's WASDE report. Russia said that they'd exported 24.7 MMT of grains so far this season, of which almost 19 MMT, or 77%, was wheat. The European Commission forecast the 2015/16 EU-28 wheat crop at 150.8 MMT, a 4% decline on last year. However, with exports falling 12% to 28.2 MMT, next season's ending stocks will rise by 40% to 19.5 MMT, they predict. Texas winter wheat was rated 50% in good to excellent condition, and 13% poor/very poor, which isn't bad for that particular semi-arid state. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $4.94 1/4, up 8 1/2 cents; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.29, up 8 1/4 cents; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.48 1/4, up 6 1/4 cents.

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