Reports show decline in US wheat rated 'good'
Beans finished a choppy session with gains of 10-15 cents. Early trade showed evidence of this being an infamous "Turnaround Tuesday" as prices retreated following a slight calming of tensions between Ukraine and the West and Russia. Nevertheless, renewed spec buying (funds added an estimated further net 5,000 soybean contracts to their already impressive existing long) pushed the market higher into the close.
Dr Cordonnier cut his Brazilian bean crop estimate to 87.0 MMT from a previous estimate of 88.5 MMT. He said that harvesting in Mato Grosso is 60% complete, and that they are around 42% done nationally. He left his Argentina bean crop estimated unchanged at 53.5 MMT. Informa cut their Brazilian soybean production estimate to 88.8 MMT versus the USDA's 90 MMT, and also dropped Argentina from 57 MMT to 54 MMT. AgRural said that, as of Friday, 39% of the Brazilian bean crop has been harvested versus 36% a year ago and 31% on average. They estimated the Brazilian bean crop at 87 MMT. Oil World forecast global bean production at 278.8 MMT versus a previous estimate of 287.8 MMT and compared to 2012/13 production of 267.4 MMT. They have Brazil at 84 MMT and Argentina at 53 MMT.
Global bean ending stocks were estimated at 72.5 MMT versus a previous estimate of 79.2 MMT and compared to 2012/13 ending stocks of 63.1 MMT. They see US 2013/14 soybean ending stocks at 3.5 MMT versus a previous estimate of 4.1 MMT and compared to 2012/13 ending stocks of 3.8 MMT. In their first peek into the season ahead, ABARES estimated the Australian 2014/15 canola crop at 2.948 MMT versus 3.548 MMT a year ago. Strategie Grains forecast the EU-28 rapeseed crop in 2014/15 at 21.5 MMT versus a previous estimate of 21.4 MMT and 21.1 MMT last year. Mar 14 Soybeans closed at $14.18, up 10 3/4 cents; May 14 Soybeans closed at $14.23, up 13 3/4 cents; Mar 14 Soybean Meal closed at $458.80, down $2.50;Mar 14 Soybean Oil closed at 43.46, up 135 points.
The corn market shot higher, with the Mar 14 contract hitting the best levels for a front month since 12 September 2013. As with soybeans we saw two-sided trade today, but a surge of buying late in the session saw prices close near the day's highs. Despite an apparent slight softening in Russia's stance on Ukraine, fund money looks like it thinks it sees an opportunity and is now pouring into grains. They were estimated as net buyers if around 18,000 corn contracts on the day, to add to the 20,000 that they were thought to have stepped in for yesterday.
Dr Cordonnier estimated the Brazilian corn crop at 68.5 MMT, unchanged from his previous estimate. He increased his Argentine corn production forecast to 23.0 MMT versus a previous estimate of 22.5 MMT. Informa cut their Brazilian corn production forecast by 1.1 MMT to 65.45 MMT, which is well below the USDA's 70 MMT estimate. Rains continue to delay the Brazilian soybean harvest, and therefore the planting of second crop corn. Informa left their forecast for the Argentine corn crop unchanged at 22.6 MMT versus the USDA's 24.0 MMT.
Both Bunge and ADM said that their Ukraine operations are running as normal. The Ukraine Ministry said that the country had exported 2.82 MMT of grains in February, up 1.3% compared with January. That total included 2.33 MMT of corn. They also said that Ukraine had exported a further 340 TMT of grains in the first three days of March. Ukraine's corn exports for the period Jul-Feb now stand at a little under 15 MMT, making the USDA's forecast for the entire season of 18 MMT seemingly well within reach if things carry on as they are. Reports that Russia had blocked the Kerch Strait, which provides access to the Black Sea for ships carrying grain, were denied by the Ukraine infrastructure ministry - at least with respect to the movement of non-military vessels. Mar 14 Corn closed at $4.76 3/4, up 12 3/4 cents; May 14 Corn closed at $4.84 1/4, up 13 3/4 cents.
The wheat market closed higher, with the exception of the technical nearby Minneapolis contract. As with the other grains, wheat was in the red in early "Turnaround Tuesday" style, but clawed its way higher as the open outcry session wore on. Fund buying in Chicago wheat (the only one of the three wheat pits where they are still short) was a feature again. Afternoon reports that Russia had test-fired a intercontinental ballistic missile may have been responsible for further late buying in wheat. Ukraine's wheat shipments so far this season (Jul-Feb) are at 7.43 MMT versus a USDA forecast for full season shipments of 10 MMT, leaving around 2.5 MMT left to go to hit that target. Despite the ongoing problems with Russia, grain exports are said to be continuing relatively unhindered.
That doesn't seem to matter though, if the funds suddenly fancy wheat again. The latest monthly crop condition reports show month-on-month declines in US wheat rated good/excellent for Kansas (down 1% to 34%), Nebraska (down 3% to 43%), Oklahoma (down 5% to 31%) and Texas (down 4% to 15%). Japan seeks 111,779 MT of wheat for April–June shipment, in it's routine combination of US, Canadian and Australian origins.
Algeria is tendering for 50,000 MT of optional origin milling wheat for May shipment. Australia's ABARES forecast the 2014/15 wheat crop there at 24.8 MMT, down 8% versus output of 27.0 MMT last year. Despite lower production though, they see Australia's 2014/15 wheat exports rising to 19.1 MMT versus 18.5 MMT this season. They forecast wheat plantings rising 130k ha to 13.6 million ha, but currently anticipate lower yields. It's currently very dry Down Under, although this is Australia in the middle of their summer that we are talking about, not the Somerset levels in the midst of a British winter. Wheat planting doesn't begin until May, so there's time for some improvement yet. Mar 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $6.39 3/4, up 13 cents; Mar 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $7.04 1/4, up 3 cents; Mar 14 MGEX Wheat closed at $6.90, down 5 3/4 cents.
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