Chinese buyers cancelling US corn purchases
Beans closed with modest gains, supported by another week of robust export sales. These came in at 943,400 MT for 2013/14 delivery - up 31 percent from the previous week and up 27 percent from the prior 4-week average. That's pretty impressive for a holiday shortened week. China was the largest buyer, taking 371,100 MT. In addition the USDA also reported sales of 237,500 MT for 2014/15 shipment.
Exports of 1,528,100 MT were also very respectable. Total commitments for 2013/14 are now higher that the USDA forecast for the entire season, which is only 4 months old. Dr Cordonnier said that early maturing short-cycle soybeans in Brazil's Mato Grosso are yielding well. IMEA said that farmers in Mato Grosso are only 48% forward sold on their new crop beans versus 67% this time a year ago. Southern Brazil is in for "very generous rainfall" in the week ahead, according to Martell Crop Projections. However Northern and Central Brazil - Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais, Goias and Bahia are turning hotter and drier. "Argentina has seen increasing showers in recent days, though the rain was not nearly as heavy or widespread as southern Brazil.
The forecast calls for hit-or-miss showers in Argentina's northern grain provinces, but little if any moisture in Buenos Aires," they say. Informa cut their soybean production forecast for Argentina by 2 MMT to 57.5 MMT, although that's still a record. They also tweaked their US production and yield estimates for 2013, upping output to 3.329 billion bushels from 3.298 billion, with yields rising to 44.0 bu/acre versus 43.3 bu/acre previously. The USDA issue revised forecasts next Friday. Their December estimates were production at 3.258 billion bushels and yields of 43.0 bu/acre. Jan 14 Soybeans closed at $12.89 1/4, up 2 1/4 cents; Mar 14 Soybeans closed at $12.71 1/4, up 1 1/4 cents; Jan 14 Soybean Meal closed at $424.50, up $0.70; Jan 14 Soybean Oil closed at 38.34, down 17 points. For the week that puts front month beans down 42 1/4 cents, meal $21.20 lower and oil 68 points weaker.
The corn market rallied around 3 cents on spillover support from wheat, although still closed lower on the week. Weekly export sales were poor at 154,500 MT for 2013/14 delivery - down 90 percent from the previous week and 80 percent from the prior 4-week average. There was also a small sale of 20,300 MT for 2014/15 reported for Mexico. Trade expectations had been for sales of 400-800 TMT.
Sales for 2013/14 included net decreases for unknown destinations (209,400 MT) and China (116,000 MT). This seemingly confirms that Chinese buyers are now cancelling US corn purchases due to the ongoing GMO issue. China is also now rejecting some US DDGs shipments, depressing that market and possibly driving down ethanol margins, which had hitherto been very good of late. The weekly ethanol grind fell from 926,000 barrels/day to 913,000 bpd, the US Energy Dept reported today. A sign of a trend? Dryness remains an issue for corn in Argentina, where 77% of the crop is now planted, 5 points down on year ago levels, according to the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange. "A 70 mm (2.75 inch) moisture deficit still persists in Buenos Aires, the leading corn province. Cordoba has benefited from recent strong showers, though the though eastern provincial corn districts need more rain.
A December heat wave was a stressor on corn and soybeans. Temperatures were 8-10 F above normal in the 2 weeks leading up to Christmas. Afternoon highs frequently were in the upper 90s F, even topping 100 F occasionally. This lead to extremely high transpiration (loss of water through leaf pores). While scattered showers occurred here and there, it was not enough to offset the extreme heat," say Martell Crop Projections. Informa cut their Brazilian corn production forecast by 2.75 MMT to 67.4 MMT. They also trimmed their estimate for the US 2013 corn crop from 14.223 billion bushels to 14.162 billion, despite raising yields from 161.2 bu/acre to 161.6 bu/acre. The USDA are currently using a production estimate of 13.989 billion bushels and yield of 160.4 bu/acre. Mar 14 Corn closed at $4.23 1/2, up 3 cents; May 14 Corn closed at $4.31 3/4, up 2 3/4 cents. For the week front month corn fell 4 cents.
The wheat market got a shot in the arm from news that Algeria and Egypt's GASC bought in excess of 1 MMT of wheat between them in a couple of high profile tenders. Whilst US wheat was nudged out into Egypt it wasn't by that much. French, Romanian, Russian and Ukraine wheat won the day, with the winning bids all huddled around the $297-300/tonne mark on an FOB basis, plus freight of around $16-20/tonne.
It was only freight of more than double those rates that saw US wheat miss out, the cheapest FOB offer for HRW wheat was actually $273.14/tonne - some $27-27/tonne below the equivalent offer in Europe or the Black Sea. Meanwhile there are trade rumours of US sales made to private Egyptian buyers from earlier in the week. The USDA reported weekly export sales of 248,500 MT for delivery during the 2013/14 marketing year - down 58 percent from the previous week and 46 percent below the prior 4-week average. Trade expectations were for sales of 200-600 TMT. There was also a small net sale of 8,000 MT for 2014/15 delivery reported for Colombia. There was no sign of Brazil, China, or anybody else of note in this week's sales, but it was a holiday week so we shouldn't necessarily read too much into that. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange maintained their forecast for an Argentine wheat crop of 10.35 MMT this year. It would seem that Australia's 2013/14 grain harvest may be higher than suggested, certainly in WA where CBH say that they've received a record 15.6 MMT of grains to date, and are expecting to take in a further 200-400 TMT by the end of the month.
MDA CropCast yesterday forecast the global wheat crop in 2014/15 down 1.7% on this season, led by a decline of 11.8% from the FSU-12 after the wet autumn cut plantings there. Russia's Hydrometcentre said today that 2013 was the sixth warmest year on record in Russia, and that December itself was the warmest ever, with average temperatures more than 4 degrees C above the seasonal norm. What winter grains have been planted in Russia (estimated at around 14.7 million hectares) are therefore in a better state than ever, the weather centre added. Mar 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $6.05 3/4, up 8 3/4 cents; Mar 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $6.42 1/2, up 11 1/4 cents; Mar 14 MGEX Wheat closed at $6.30 1/2, up 5 1/4 cents. For the week Chicago wheat still fell 3 1/4 cents, with Kansas down 1 3/4 cents and Minneapolis falling 4 1/4 cents.
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