Chicago grain market report - 20th February 2013
China and the US were open for business at the same time in more than a week, and the USDA promptly confirmed 120 TMT of old crop soybeans sold to the world's largest buyer.
It's interesting that they are still buying old crop after last week's cancellations prompted some to announce that demand had finally switched to South America. Some reports suggest that up to 11 MMT of beans, meal and corn are waiting to load at Brazilian ports currently, where shipping delays are said to be 30-40 days.
The only thing that's surprising about that is that these delays are "only" 30-40 days. Things could get much worse before they get better, especially with Argentine farmers holding onto beans as a hedge against inflation and the rapidly devaluing peso. Weekly export inspections were 40.38 million bushels, up nearly 10 million from last week and more than four times the level required to hit USDA targets. Early soybean yields in Mato Grosso, where Celeres peg the harvest at 29% done versus 35% a year ago, are said to be a bit lower than hoped for. Celeres said that nationally the soybean harvest is 19% complete and that 59% of the crop is sold versus 55% this time a year ago.
Mar 13 Soybeans closed at USD14.70 1/4, up 45 3/4 cents; May 13 Soybeans closed at USD14.57 1/4, up 42 1/2 cents; Mar 13 Soybean Meal closed at USD425.30, up USD15.90; Mar 13 Soybean Oil closed at 52.53, up 91 points. Fund buying was estimated at around 10-12,000 soybean contracts on the day.
Despite a strong performance from the soycomplex, corn couldn't build on that. Weekly export inspections of 9.5 million bushels were down 5 million on last week and well below the more than 20 million needed to hit USDA targets.
Inspections are more than 56% behind last year's pace. Safras e Mercados said as of Feb 15th 17% of the Brazilian summer corn crop has been harvested versus 14% a year ago. They also said that 34% of Brazil’s 2nd corn crop has been planted versus 29% a year ago. Michael Cordonnier upped his forecast for Argentine corn production this year from 22.5 MMT to 24 MMT, leaving his Brazilian estimate unchanged at 70 MMT.
The USDA Outlook Forum on Thursday and Friday this week will provide a first glimpse from them into prospective US spring plantings and ending stocks for 2013/14. Both are expected to be large. In January Informa Economics pegged US corn plantings at at 99.3 million acres, up 2.4 million acres on the 2012 planted area, and that was the largest acreage in 75 years. India are said to be actively selling new crop wheat into Asian homes that may otherwise have bought corn.
Mar 13 Corn closed at USD6.95 1/4, down 3 1/2 cents; May 13 Corn closed at USD6.92, down 5 cents. Funds were estimated to have been net sellers of around 6,000 corn contracts on the day.
As with corn, wheat couldn't manage to garner enough support from soaring soybeans to climb into positive territory. This was despite export inspections of 30.33 million bushels.
That was up 10 million from last week and well above trade expectations of 15-20 million. It's widely reported, and partially confirmed, that US wheat has been sold into China and Brazil. It's rumoured that more business has been done into China than has been formally announced so far. There's been no confirmation as yet of the suggested sales to Europe or Russia.
Australian wheat was said to have undercut US wheat by around USD5-10 in the Iraqi tender that closed at the weekend. Japan are tendering for almost 100 TMT of milling wheat for March-May shipment of a mixture of US, Australian and Canadian origin. They are said to be 85% covered through to April. Egypt are also back in the market, although only nibbling, tendering for 55 TMT of soft and/or milling wheat for April 10-20 shipment. They are said to be well covered through until the summer and only bought one US cargo in their last tender a couple of weeks ago. A major storm system moving across the Great Plains is seen bringing beneficial moisture to US winter wheat areas.
Mar 13 CBOT Wheat closed at USD7.32 1/4, down 10 cents; Mar 13 KCBT Wheat closed at USD7.69, down 8 1/2 cents; Mar 13 MGEX Wheat closed at USD8.15 3/4, down 7 3/4 cents. Fund selling in Chicago wheat was estimated at 3,000 contracts on the day.
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