China stepping up wheat purchases; corn market 'modest gains'
Beans closed narrowly mixed. Those hoping for a holiday delayed "Turnaround Tuesday" on a Wednesday were ultimatey disappointed, although the overnight market traded positive for much of the day. Good rains in Argentina, along with an outlook for somewhat cooler temperatures, and generally near ideal weather in Brazil - where the harvest is now under way - capped gains. "The window to really hurt the Brazilian soybean crop is beginning to close which sets the stage for a record amount of soybeans hitting the market," said one commentator. There's also a loud undercurrent of rumour of Chinese cancellations of US soybean purchases, although nothing has been confirmed yet.
Monday's MLK Day holiday means that we won't get to see the USDA's regular weekly export sales data until Friday. Cancellations are needed, with US sales commitments already 102% of the USDA's target for the season. Mar 14 Soybeans closed at $12.79 1/2, down 1 cent; May 14 Soybeans closed at $12.65, up 1 cent; Mar 14 Soybean Meal closed at $419.40, up $2.90; Mar 14 Soybean Oil closed at 37.84, down 26 points.
The corn market managed modest gains, closing around the middle of a relatively narrow daily trading range. Improved South American weather limits upside. Various analysts see Brazil's corn crop 5-6 MT higher than the USDA's 70 MMT. The results of Israel's tender for 90,000 MT of corn for April/May shipment are expected tomorrow.
Also out tomorrow will be the weekly ethanol grind from the US Energy Dept. Last week's production fell sharply to 868,000 barrels/day, although this may have been down to logistical difficulties in moving physical corn due to the Polar Vortex deep freeze that hit the US. The trade will be looking for this week's production to be closer to 900,000 bpd. Weekly export sales are delayed until Friday. Current commitments on corn are 80% of the USDA's target for the season versus last year’s figure of 73% and the 5-year average of 58%. South Korea bought 60,000 MT of US corn in a tender. There's been no progress made in resolving the MIR 162 corn dispute with China it would seem. Chinese markets are closed Jan 31st – Feb 3rd for the Lunar New Year holiday. Their markets re-open Feb 4th. Mar 14 Corn closed at $4.26 1/4, up 1 1/4 cents; May 14 Corn closed at $4.33, up 3/4 cent.
The wheat market ended mixed, a cent lower to 3 cents higher. China are seen stepping up their wheat purchases with prices at 3 1/2 year lows. They are said to be actively seeking Australian and/or US wheat for April shipment. China imported almost 50% more wheat in 2013 than it did a year previously. "Another big Chinese/US export program starting into the spring and extending into harvest could favour the bull camp given the recent planting intentions report that showed a decline in acres from last year," said one market observer.
China sold 239,834 MT of wheat (56.43% of the total offered) at today’s government auction. The Xinhua news agency said that China will continue their stockpiling policy in 2014 for wheat, rice, sugar, and rapeseed. Stockpiling of soybeans and cotton will cease and be replaced by direct susidies. The Canadian Stats Office said that they'd exported 1.428 MMT of wheat (excluding durum) in November 2013, up 53% versus the same month a year previously.
That takes exports for Aug/Nov to 5.716 MMT, up 27% on a year previously. The top home was the US, taking 1.125 MMT, followed by Mexico (524 TMT), Indonesia (492 TMT), Japan (393 TMT), Brazil (289 TMT), Italy (275 TMT) and Morocco (256 TMT). Mar 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.61 1/4, down 1 cent; Mar 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $6.24 3/4, up 3 1/2 cents; Mar 14 MGEX Wheat closed at $6.16 3/4, up 3 cents.
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