Wheat market reverses losses; Robust corn imports for Europe
Beans closed narrowly mixed with the strong export pace supporting the market despite the notion that another record large South American crop is almost upon us. China seem to now be heavily booking soybeans for 2014/15 as well as 2013/14, and US origin is getting plenty of attention.
The USDA today announced net sales of 465,500 of US soybeans sold to China. That comprised of 60,000 MT for 2013/14 shipment and 405,500 tons for 2014/15 shipment. That was announced under the daily reporting system. In addition to that there were weekly export sales of 701,500 MT for 2013/14 (with China taking 678,200 MT) and a further 525,300 MT for 2014/15 (China: 512,000 MT). Trade expectations were for sales of a combined 750 TMT to 1 MMT for both marketing years. Actual physical exports this week were 1,563,200 MT - with over a million tonnes of that heading to you know where. Brazil's 2013/14 soybean harvest is slowly gathering pace. Mato Grosso's bean harvest is said to be around 3-5% complete, with Parana about 2% done. Meanwhile in Argentina they are still wrapping up planting. Hot and dry is the forecast in Argentina through to Saturday, but cooler temperatures and scattered showers are in the prognosis for Sunday – Monday. There's talk that the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange is now pegging Argentine soybean plantings at 20.35 million hectares, down from their previous estimate of 20.45 million hectares due to these dryness issues. Mar 14 Soybeans closed at $13.15, down 3 cents; May 14 Soybeans closed at $12.96 1/4, down 1 1/4 cents; Mar 14 Soybean Meal closed at $432.00, down $2.50; Mar 14 Soybean Oil closed at 38.05, up 6 points.
The corn market closed a couple of cents higher after weekly export sales of 821,000 MT for 2013/14 were up noticeably from the previous week and 26 percent above the previous 4-week average. Trade expectations had been for sales of around 350-550 TMT. The figure included decreases for China (169,800 MT) and unknown destinations (15,800 MT). Weekly shipments of 674,500 MT were up 12 percent from the previous week, but down 23 percent from the prior 4-week average.
There was no sign of anything significant heading to China as the dispute over the non-approved MIR 162 variety rumbles on. Separately, the USDA announced 126,000 MT of US corn sold to unknown had been cancelled. This is assumed to be China. South Korea's NOFI bought 70 TMT of US corn for May shipment. Europe reported another robust week of corn imports, with Brussels granting import licences for 646 TMT. The cumulative season to date total is 6.2 MMT versus 6.0 MMT a year ago, but the pace of these imports really has cranked up in recent weeks since Ukraine's corn harvest wrapped up. Strategie Grains estimated the 2014 EU-28 corn crop at 64.8 MMT versus a previous estimate of 64.7 MMT and 64.5 MMT in 2013. MDA CropCast forecast the Brazilian corn crop at 71.8 MMT, up 400 TMT from last week "due to favourable conditions in much of the belt." They timmed 90 TMT off their Argentine crop estimate to 24.09 MMT "due to ongoing dryness and heat." Mar 14 Corn closed at $4.28, up 2 1/4 cents; May 14 Corn closed at $4.35 1/2, up 2 cents.
The wheat market reversed yesterdays losses, closing around 5 to 10 cents higher across the three exchanges. Support came from a partial victory for US wheat in the latest GASC tender, although the prize was shared with Ukraine, Russia and France. US wheat was well below the other origins on an FOB basis. MDA CropCast cut their US winter wheat production forecast by 117 million bushels to 1.632 billion "due to acreage adjustments."
Adding that "snow cover on the Plains remains very limited." Another very cold spell is forecast to hit the US Midwest next week, with temperatures dropping as low as -18C. Weekly export sales of 319,900 MT for delivery during the 2013/14 marketing year were up noticeably from the previous week, but down 20 percent from the prior 4-week average. There were also sales of 82,000 MT for 2014/15. Trade estimates were for sales of 300-600 TMT. For all the talk that US wheat is far cheaper than other origins these are pretty uninspiring totals.
The EU cleared 810,000 MT of soft wheat exports this week, and French wheat was around $15 dearer than US wheat on an FOB basis in Egypt's tender. There's trade talk of logistical issues in transporting and loading vessels in Canada as they try to get their record large wheat crop to market in the depths of a very cold winter. Mar 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.72 3/4, up 5 cents; Mar 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $6.29 1/2, up 9 cents; Mar 14 MGEX Wheat closed at $6.24, up 10 cents.
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