20/10/14 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed lower, but towards the middle of the day's trading range. The USDA reported that the 2014 US soybean harvest was 53% done, up from 40% a week ago, but perhaps not as much progress has been made this week as the trade expected. The 5-year average for this time is 66% done. Crop condition ratings were unchanged from last week at 73% good to excellent. The forecast for the week ahead is largely friendly for decent progress to be made. Weekly export inspections were very strong at almost 2 MMT. Year to date inspections are now 123% of what they were a year ago. Growers in Brazil are still waiting for rain, particularly in the leading soybean producing state of Mato Grosso. AgRural said that plantings in Brazil are only 10% done, versus 19% a year ago and 20% for the 5-year average. That's the slowest pace in 6 years, they said. It is also only an advancement of 3 points on a week ago. It is also thought that some of what has been sown will fail and need to be replanted. Rains are finally on the way though. "Strong showers and heavy rainfall are predicted this week in Mato Grosso, Brazil’s largest soybean state. The rainy season in the tropics was slow to develop this month, but is predicted to kick into high gear as 1.5-2.5 inches of rain is projected in the next 5 days October 20-25," said Martell Crop Projections. Nov 14 Soybeans closed at $9.44 1/4, down 7 1/2 cents; Jan 15 Soybeans closed at $9.52 1/4, down 7 1/2 cents; Dec 14 Soybean Meal closed at $329.40, down $1.10; Dec 14 Soybean Oil closed at 31.70, down 32 points.
Corn: The corn market ended with small gains, and at the upper end of the daily trading range. US farmers appear to be concentrating on the soybean harvest, rather than that of corn. The USDA reported the 2014 US corn harvest at 31% complete, up only 7 points on a week ago and well behind the 5-year average of 53% done at this time. Crop conditions were left unchanged at 74% good to excellent. Maturity was up six points on last week at 93%, in line with the 5-year average of 94% at this time. The forecast for the week ahead is friendly. "Harvesting of corn and soybeans is expected to make excellent gains in the week ahead. While some rain is predicted it would occur in some of the driest areas of the Midwest, the Upper Midwest, while drying dominates elsewhere, allowing the harvest to advance," said Martell Crop Projections. "Many areas continue to report big yields, while there are a few areas reporting disappointment compared to expectations," said Benson Quinn Commodities. Weekly export inspections were a bit disappointing at 717,605 MT, down versus last week and this time a year ago. Dollar weakness today may have added a bit of support to the grains sector. Dec 14 Corn closed at $3.48 1/4, up 1/4 cent; Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.61 3/4, up 1/2 cent.
Wheat: The wheat market closed lower across the three exchanges. Weekly export inspections were ho hum at 481,878 MT. Cumulative wheat inspections are now only about two thirds of what they were a year ago. The USDA reported US winter wheat plantings at 76% complete, one point behind the 5-year average. Emergence is at 56%, six points ahead of the 5-year average, and up 13 points on a week ago. The Russian Ag Ministry reported the 2014 grain harvest there at 93.5% complete at 105.7 MMT. That includes 93.6% of the wheat area, producing a crop of 60.7 MMT in bunker weight so far. Plantings for the 2015 harvest are approaching 98% done on 16.1 million hectares. "Key winter wheat areas in southern Russia and Ukraine have received beneficial soaking rainfall in the past month, improving field moisture for winter wheat planting. The subsoil remains very dry, however. Summer drought was intense in South Russia's top winter wheat districts, depleting field moisture for wheat planting this fall. Pockets of Krasnodar and Stavropol received only 20% of normal summer rainfall. It would require 60-75 mm of rainfall to fully replenish soil moisture," said Martell Crop Projections. Egypt tendered for wheat for Nov 21-30 shipment late in the day. Dec 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.13 1/2, down 2 1/2 cents; Dec 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $6.01, down 3/4 cent; Dec 14 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.66 3/4, down 3 3/4 cents.
20/10/14 -- EU grains ended the day lower, pressured by falling US futures levels in expectation that good progress has been made over the weekend with the US corn and soybean harvest. The weather forecast for the week ahead is also friendly.
A firmer sterling had London wheat under a bit of extra pressure. Across the Channel, Nov 14 didn't fare as badly as the more further forward Paris wheat contracts did. That might mean a few people are getting squeezed out by the increased, and unexpected, margin call requirements announced on Friday.
The day ended with Nov 14 London wheat down GBP0.95/tonne to GBP115.55/tonne, Nov 14 Paris wheat closed EUR0.25/tonne lower at EUR159.75/tonne, Nov 14 Paris corn was down EUR1.50/tonne to EUR141.00/tonne, whilst Nov 14 Paris rapeseed was EUR4.25/tonne easier at EUR317.75/tonne.
Fresh news to start the week was fairly scant, whilst the trade is expecting good harvest progress to have been made in the US over the weekend we won't have the USDA's actual take on things until tonight.
The Russian and Ukraine 2014 harvests, and winter plantings for 2015, aren't just winding down - they're entering the final furlong. The recent benign weather conditions are seen changing in the week ahead. "Some morning frost will be observed in the Moscow region tomorrow and should gradually reach Southern Russia and the Ukraine at the end of the week," said Agritel. "Under these conditions, the (winter) crops will have only limited time to profit from the humidity of the last weeks," they added.
Exports from the region remain strong. APK Inform reported that Ukraine seaports exported 689 TMT of grains in the past week, slightly more than the 684.4 TMT shipped out the week previously
Wheat accounted for 344.5 TMT of that total, with barley 132.1 TMT and corn 212.4 TMT. It is interesting to note that whilst the overall volume exported was little changed, corn had a much larger slice of the cake last week compared to the week prior. In percentage terms, wheat exports were 50% of the net volume shipped last week, down from 77% the previous week. Barley's share held steady at 19%, but corn accounted for 31% of last week's exports versus only 4% the week previously.
That would appear to indicate, as expected, that Ukraine's grain exports will soon start to major on newly harvested corn.
APK Inform also said that domestic consumption of grain in Ukraine will fall this season, leaving potentially more available for export. Wheat consumption will fall 2.7% to 12.9 MMT (compared to the official forecast of production this year at 24.55 MMT), barley consumption will increase 4% to 5.6 MMT and corn usage will drop 9% to 9.6 MMT, they estimated.
The reason for the decline in domestic wheat usage is the reduced quality of this year's crop leading to a decrease in flour production. UkrAgroConsult said last week that only 58% of this year's Ukraine wheat crop is up to milling standard versus 75% a year ago.
With the Ukraine Ministry steadfastly predicting a record grain crop for the second year in a row this year, all this potentially points to an increase in exports of feed wheat and corn for the Black Sea nation in 2014/15. They say that they are already in negotiation with Europe for a second round of duty-free export quotas to the EU for both grains, which they hope will begin Nov 1.
Russia meanwhile continue to major on wheat exports. Their Ag Ministry say that they exported 1.77 MMT of grains in the first half of the month, including 1.28 MMT of wheat (72% of the total), 314 TMT of barley and 158 TMT of corn. That takes the cumulative 2014/15 total to Oct 15 to 13.3 MMT, a 33% increase on a year ago. That consists of 11.13 MMT of wheat (over 83% of the total), 1.61 MMT of barley and 468 TMT of corn.
Rosstat said that Russian wheat stocks as at Oct 1 were up 30.8%, with barley inventories rising 52.2% and those for corn 210% higher.
On the international tender front, Jordan are said to be in for 100 TMT each of optional origin wheat and barley for Apr-May shipment.
In rapeseed news, Oil World were said to have pegged this year's EU-28 crop at a record 23.98 MMT, a 12.5% increase on last year. Top producer here is Germany, who's crop is up 8.5% at 6.27 MMT, followed by France with 5.51 MMT (up 26%), Poland with 3.1 MMT (up 15%) and the UK in fourth at 2.41 MMT (up 13%).
17/10/14 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed lower on the day, but higher for the week. "The high emotions seen in the macro markets over the past couple sessions seems to have run its course and this allowed beans to get back to trading fundamentals with market settling lower ahead of wide open harvest weekend," noted Benson Quinn Commodities. The "high emotion" to which they refer concerned slumping equities, and NYMEX crude slipping below $80/barrel yesterday for the first time for the fist time since June 2012. This may be responsible for the recent uptick in spec money coming back into the grains market, although there was an element of calm in these outside markets today. It will be interesting to see if this trend resumes again next week, with the Fed stopping printing money this month, or as one commentator put it "weaning the patient off the monetary morphine" - is he about to wake up and not like what he sees? "The 7-day outlook is dry over an enormous area of the United States heartland," according to Martell Crop Projections, which should allow for good harvest progress to be made. The US soybean harvest jumped from 20% to 40% complete last week, could it have advanced another 20 points when the USDA release their latest crop progress report on Monday night? The trade doesn't seem to think so, with the average trade estimate around 52% done, but then again the trade was only looking for 30-33% complete a week ago. Informa estimated US soybean plantings in 2015 at a record high 88.512 million acres, versus a previous forecast of 87.652 million in September. That would be a rise of 5.1% compared to what the USDA says was planted in 2014. Soybean planting in Brazil remains stalled. Dryness in the leading producing state of Mato Grosso is only 9.3% complete, up less than a point on a week ago (8.4% done), and 18 points behind this time last year. Somar say however that some parts of the state could pick up rains of up to 2 inches next week. Weekly export sales for beans came in at 935,000 MT for 2014/15 versus trade expectations of 650-750 TMT, China (709,400 MT) took the lion's share as usual. Actual shipments were 1,528,700 MT - a marketing-year high - and were also mostly to China (1,165,900 MT). Today's commitment of traders report shows fund money reducing their net short in beans for the week through to Tuesday night. Nov 14 Soybeans closed at $9.51 3/4, down 14 3/4 cents; Jan 15 Soybeans closed at $9.59 3/4, down 14 1/2 cents; Dec 14 Soybean Meal closed at $330.50, down $4.10; Dec 14 Soybean Oil closed at 32.02, down 34 points.
Corn: The corn market also closed lower on the day, but higher for the week. Weekly export sales were strong at 1,922,800 MT for 2014/15, and also a marketing-year high. There were also sales of 510,500 MT for 2015/16. Mexico was a featured buyer in both crop years, although the vast majority of this was simply confirmation of a large trade announced last Friday. Exports of 901,700 MT were primarily to Japan (348,200 MT), Colombia (115,800 MT), Mexico (87,400 MT), Peru (83,900 MT) and Egypt (65,500 MT). The USDA also reported sales of 120 TMT of US corn to "unknown" today. "I would not be surprised to see the corn market shift to a sideways to lower trade as harvest expands. It may depend on the macro markets showing more stability and less volatility," said Benson Quinn's Brian Henry. Informa estimated US corn plantings for the 2015 harvest at 87.771 million acres, that's up from their previous forecast of 87.275 million, although 3.4% lower than the USDA's estimate of 90.9 million planted this year. That would be the first time that soybean acres have outstripped corn plantings in as long as I can remember. Commerzbank said that current low corn prices will lead to reduced plantings in both North and South America for the 2015 harvest. They see US prices recovering to around $4/bushel in Q3 of next year. Corn planting in Argentina is 30% complete, favoured by good weather conditions across the last 7 days, according to the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange. They see plantings down 16% this year at 3 million ha. Crop conditions are generally good, they say. Last week the USDA put the 2014 US corn harvest at 24% complete versus 17% a year ago. That was broadly in line with expectations, although it lagged the 5-year average of 43% significantly. Perhaps that will have risen to around 35% or so on Monday night it is thought. The latest commitment of traders report shows fund money adding to their net long in corn for the week through to Tuesday night. India said that it had exported only 2.5 MMT of corn for the 2013/14 marketing year that ended in September. That's down sharply from the 4.7 MMT shipped out the previous season. Strong competition from Black Sea sellers such as Ukraine, Russia, and Romania may have been a contributing factor towards the decline. Russia's 2014 corn harvest now stands at 8.3 MMT off 1.8 million hectares, or 69% of the planned area. Dec 14 Corn closed at $3.48, down 4 1/4 cents; Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.61 1/4, down 4 cents.
Wheat: The wheat market closed mostly lower on the day, but also higher for the week, in what looks like pre-weekend consolidation. Weekly export sales of 454,000 MT for delivery in the 2014/15 marketing year, along with a further 40,000 MT for 2015/16 were deemed to be "routine" and in line with expectations. Actual exports themselves of 485,300 MT were also uninspiring, down 27 percent from the previous week and 21 percent from the prior 4-week average. Nothing to get excited about there. Informa estimated US wheat plantings for the 2015 harvest at 56.428 million acres, down from a previous forecast of 57 million and a bit below the 56.8 million that they USDA says was planted for this year's harvest. Tunisia bought 151,000 MT of optional origin durum wheat in a tender. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange said that the Argentine wheat harvest is underway, although less than 1% done on a national level. Crop conditions are generally good. They held steady with their planted area estimate at 4.1 million hectares, an increase of more than 13% compared to a year ago. The Rosario Grain Exchange said that 70% of the wheat crop in its area is in good to very good condition. Yields will not reach their full potential, but they will be above average, they said, adding that compared to last year the current climate scenario is "very favourable". Russia said that they had harvested 22.9 million hectares of wheat, or 93% of the planned area, producing a bunker weight crop of 60.5 MMT to date. Ukraine said that it had exported more than 10 MMT of grains so far this marketing year, including almost 6 MMT of wheat. The Ukraine Ministry said that grain exports could hit a record 4.3 MMT this season, up from the existing all time high 32.8 MMT shipped out in 2013/14. The new projection would include 17.9 MMT of corn, 11.7 MMT of wheat and 4.16 MMT of barley, they say. Plantings of winter grains (mostly wheat) in Russia and Ukraine are already nearing completion, with Russia nearly 98% done and Ukraine 90% finished (and 94% done on wheat). Good soaking rains arrived this week for the latter, and are in the 14 day forecast for the former. The latest commitment of traders report shows fund money getting less short in Chicago wheat, and increasing their long position in Kansas wheat for the week through to Tuesday night. Dec 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.16, down 1 cent; Dec 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $6.01 3/4, down 3 1/4 cents; Dec 14 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.70, down 6 1/2 cents.
17/10/14 -- EU grains finished narrowly mixed on the day, but mostly higher for the week.
At the finish Nov 14 London wheat was down GBP0.55/tonne to GBP116.45/tonne, Nov 14 Paris wheat ended EUR0.50/tonne firmer at EUR160.00/tonne, Nov 14 Paris corn fell EUR0.50/tonne to EUR142.50/tonne, whilst Nov 14 Paris rapeseed was EUR0.75/tonne lower at EUR322.00/tonne.
For the week that puts front month London wheat up GBP3.70/tonne, with Paris wheat up EUR1.25/tonne, corn up EUR1.75/tonne and rapeseed EUR2.00/tonne weaker.
There was a general dearth of fresh news. There is however some evidence that fresh spec money is coming back into the grains sector, wooed away from falling global equities. Whether this is the beginning of a long-term trend it's too early to say.
The FTSE 100 hit a 15 month low yesterday, and had fallen 8.6% in the past month in lunchtime trade. The S&P 500 is down 7.4% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average 6.7% lower compared to a month ago too. In the same period Chicago wheat has risen by 9.5%, and there's some debate as to whether the traditional October lows are now already in for corn and soybeans as well.
This might be tempting some fresh money back into the grains sector it is thought.
The credibility of the Paris wheat contract took another blow when in a surprise, and controversial move, LCH.Clearnet - the clearing house behind Euronext - announced today that they are to introduce an extra margin call on short positions in the Nov 14 contract.
The move looks aimed at "encouraging" shorts to close out their positions, rather than run them to the wire with the intention of delivering against them - something which to the embarrassment of the exchange they probably won't be able to do as the two sole delivery points are still not open for intake of wheat.
There's still on open interest of the equivalent of around 4.5 MMT against the Nov 14 contract, which is way beyond the capacity of these two stores anyway, even if they were currently empty!
Brussels confirmed that they'd issued 945 TMT worth of soft wheat export licences this past week, the highest weekly total of the season so far. The cumulative export licence total is now 8.4 MMT for the current marketing year. That beats the 8.0 MMT that had been granted this time a year ago, despite the fact that the EU Commission sees soft wheat exports down by almost 17% in 2014/15 versus last season's record.
Ukraine seaports shipped 3.536 MMT of grains in September, a more than 50% increase compared to the same month in 2013. The Ukraine Ministry said that the country might export a record 34.3 MMT of grains this season, up from the existing all time high 32.8 MMT shipped out in 2013/14. The new projection would include 17.9 MMT of corn, 11.7 MMT of wheat and 4.16 MMT of barley, they say.
The Russian Ministry said that their 2014 grain harvest had now reached 105.2 MMT, with around 7% of the planned area still left to cut. That total includes 60.5 MMT of wheat, 20.9 MMT of barley and 8.3 MMT of corn.
Russian winter grain planting is nearing completion at 16.1 million ha, or 97.6% of plan. Good rains are in the forecast. In Ukraine, Agritel report that heavy rain has fallen over most of the country in recent days, creating favourable conditions for winter crop development there.
FranceAgriMer said that the French corn harvest was 19% done as of Monday, up ten points from a week ago and compared to only 5% complete a year ago. The crop was rated at a high 87% good to very good, the same as a week ago, and far better than only 57% this time last year.
French winter wheat planting is 34% complete versus 23% last week and 36% a year ago. The winter barley crop for next year is 55% sown versus 43% a week ago and 62% this time last year.
16/10/14 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed higher on short-covering, although there was a general lack of fresh news to get excited about. US weather leans friendly for decent harvest progress to be made across the weekend. Crude oil dipped below $80/barrel at one point, but rallied later in the day to close at $82.70/barrel, which may have provided late support to beans. The Rosario Grain Exchange estimated Argentine soybean plantings at 20.6-20.9 million acres, up from 20.2 million last year. MDA CropCast left their forecast for the US 2014 soybean crop unchanged at 3.85 billion bushels. The Ukraine Stats Office said that the country had harvested 2.14 MMT of rapeseed, 7.72 MMT of sunseed and 2.47 MMT of soybeans so far this year. Weekly export sales data is due for release tomorrow, delayed a day due to the Columbus Day holiday on Monday. Trade estimates for soybean sales are around 650-750 TMT versus 923,400 MT a week ago. Nov 14 Soybeans closed at $9.66 1/2, up 14 3/4 cents; Jan 15 Soybeans closed at $9.74 1/4, up 13 1/4 cents; Dec 14 Soybean Meal closed at $334.60, up $7.30; Dec 14 Soybean Oil closed at 32.36, up 30 points.
Corn: The corn market closed around 4-5 cents higher, with fund money seen covering in around 3,000 lots of their short. MDA CropCast held steady with their US 2014 corn production estimate at 14.547 billion bushels, saying that drier Midwest weather this week will have allowed for better harvest progress to be made. The Rosario Grain Exchange estimated corn plantings in Argentina down 16% this year at 3.7 million hectares. Russia said that it had harvested 7.7 MMT of corn so far off 63.9% of the planned area. Ukraine's corn harvest stands at 9.48 MMT to date. Spain said that they'd imported 740 TMT of corn in the first two months of the 2014/15 marketing year (Jul/Aug), a 37% rise year-on-year. Strategie Grains raised their forecast for the EU-28 2014 corn harvest by almost 2 MMT to 73.3 MMT, a 14% hike compared with a year ago. EU corn plantings in 2015 will fall 2%, they predict. The USDA reported the sale of 120 TMT of US corn to "unknown destinations" for 2014/15 delivery. Trade estimates for tomorrow's weekly export sales report are around 1.2-1.5 MMT. The US Energy Dept reported ethanol production at 885k barrels/day, down from 901k a week ago. Dec 14 Corn closed at $3.52 1/4, up 4 3/4 cents; Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.65 1/4, up 4 3/4 cents.
Wheat: The wheat market closed with double digit gains across the three exchanges. Russia's 2014 wheat harvest now stands at 60.5 MMT off 22.9 million hectares, or 93% of the planted area. Yields are up 12.3% at 2.64 MT/ha. The Ukraine wheat harvest is over at 24.55 MMT, with barley production coming in at 9.3 MMT, said their Stats Office. Russian winter grain plantings are nearing completion at 96% done on 15.8 million ha. Ukraine winter wheat plantings are 93% done on 5.7 million hectares. Good rains are in the 14 day forecast for both. Russia only picked up 28,755 MT of grain at their regular intervention purchase round. The cumulative total to date is only 141,325 MT out of an intended target of 4-5 MMT. The Rosario Grain Exchange forecast the 2014 Argentine wheat harvest at 12 MMT, up 26% from a year ago. Harvesting of that takes place in Dec-Jan. Strategie Grains raised their forecast for the EU-28 soft wheat crop from 146.6 MMT to 147.4 MMT, up 9% on a year ago. They also increased their EU-28 barley production estimate from 59.6 MMT to 59.9 MMT. They said that they expect soft wheat plantings for the 2015 harvest to hold steady at more than 24 million hectares. The 2015 EU barley area will drop 2%, they added. Trade estimates for tomorrow's weekly export sales report are around 400-500 TMT. Dec 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.17, up 11 cents; Dec 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $6.05, up 13 cents; Dec 14 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.76 1/2, up 11 3/4 cents.
Nov 14 London wheat finished up GBP0.25/tonne at GBP117.00/tonne, Nov 14 Paris wheat was up EUR1.50/tonne at EUR159.50/tonne, Nov 14 Paris corn was dowwas unchanged at EUR322.75/tonne.
The FTSE 100 fell hard for a second day, on concerns over a slowdown of the global economy and the impact of the ebola crisis. The leading UK index had its largest one day fall in 16 months yesterday.
NYMEX crude oil fell below $80/barrel for the fist time since June 2012, and Brent was also down heavily. NYMEX has fallen 7% so far this week, and Brent is down 8% compared to last Friday.
Defra confirmed UK wheat yields up 17% on last year at an average 8.6 MT/ha, with winter barley up 13% at 7.2 MT/ha, spring barley up 6% at 6.0 MT/ha and OSR yields 25% higher than a year ago at 3.7 MT/ha.
UK wheat plantings were up 20%, taking production to 16.6 MMT, a 39% jump versus 2013. With winter barley plantings up 38%, production is 56% higher than a year ago at 3.1 MMT. Spring barley sowings fell 28%, taking production 23% lower to 3.9 MMT. Despite an 8% decline in OSR plantings, the much better yields achieved this year see production up 17% at 2.5 MMT.
Customs data shows that the UK imported more wheat than it exported again in August, stretching that run to 27 months in a row. Imports came in at 228.7 TMT, a 17% rise versus July, with France (78 TMT), Denmark (66 TMT) and Germany (30 TMT) the leading suppliers.
The UK exported just under 130 TMT of wheat in August, with Spain the top destination taking 55.4 TMT.
It looks like Spain is stepping up its imports, after a disappointing 2014 grain crop of its own. July/Aug wheat imports were up 47% versus the first two months of the 2013/14 marketing year at 1.27 MMT. Corn imports were also up sharply, 37% higher at 740 TMT.
Spain's soft wheat crop fell 16.4% to 5.6 MMT this year, with corn production down 3.4% at 4.58 MMT.
Russia's 2014 harvest is winding down at 92.6% done, producing a grain crop of 104.4 MMT to date. That total includes 60.5 MMT of wheat, 20.9 MMT of barley and 7.7 MMT of corn.
It would seem that winter planting for the 2015 harvest is also wrapping up, at 96% done on 15.8 million hectares. That's up sharply from the only 11.4 million ha that had been planted this time a year ago. Timely rains are in the forecast to get the crop off to a good start.
Ukraine's winter wheat crop is also in for a good soaking in the coming days, that's been sown on 5.7 million ha to date, which is 93% of the anticipated 6.2 million ha. Plantings for the 2014 harvest were 6.1 million ha.
The Ukraine Stats Office said that the country had harvested 24.55 MMT of wheat and 9.3 MMT of barley this year.
15/10/14 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed lower, in line with falling equities and commodities in general. "Fears of slowing global economy and spread of Ebola in the US to a second nurse in Dallas triggered the massive sell off in US equities and broad market with losses in the Dow and S&P at times wiping out all of 2014 market gains," said Benson Quinn Commodities. NYMEX crude is now threatening to fall below $80/barrel for the first time since June 2012. The September NOPA crush came in at 99.97 million bushels, down from 110.6 in August, and below trade estimates. This was said to be the lowest level since Aug 2004, although tightness in availability was almost certainly a contributing factor. News after last night's close that the US 2014 soybean harvest was 40% complete was also bearish. Even though that's behind the 5-year average, it's a lot better than the 30-33% that the trade was expecting. Planting progress in Mato Grosso, Brazil’s largest soybean state with a 30% share of national output, remains slow waiting for rains to arrive. "Dryness is expected to continue in the upcoming week in Mato Grosso, though not as extreme as previously, as a few showers predicted in the Center West. Late October may bring even heavier rain. The outlook for October 22-28, calls for near average moisture in pocket of the farm belt though many soybean farms would continue on the dry side," said Martell Crop Projections. Nov 14 Soybeans closed at $9.52 1/2, down 12 1/4 cents; Jan 15 Soybeans closed at $9.61, down 12 1/4 cents; Dec 14 Soybean Meal closed at $327.30, up $3.30; Dec 14 Soybean Oil closed at 31.98, down 89 points.
Corn: The corn market ended with losses of the best part of 10 cents. As with beans, macro-economic worries weighed on corn, along with slumping crude oil prices as the US embrace shale gas production. The Ukraine Ag Ministry estimated this year's grain harvest at a record 64.4 MMT, saying that exports would exceed last season's 33 MMT, without giving an exact figure. Much of that will be corn, although these estimates look rather optimistic given the problems that they've had this year. Other, perhaps more realistic, trade estimates have Ukraine's grain crop at around 57-58 MMT, with exports in the region of 26-27 MMT. The Ukraine Ministry say that exports so far this season total just under 10 MMT. The Ukraine government said that they are in negotiations with Europe to obtain further permission to export corn to the bloc on a duty free basis. The existing 800 TMT corn quota has already been fully taken up. The Ukraine's said that they are hoping for the new quota period to commence on Nov 1, immediately after the old one expires. Russia said that it had harvested 7.6 MMT of corn so far this season, off 1.7 million hectares, or 62.3% of the planned area. They said that average yields this year are 4.59 MT/ha versus 5.2 MT/ha a year ago. There will be no weekly export sales figures tomorrow due to Monday's Columbus Day holiday, these will be released on Friday. Last night's US harvest progress figure of 24% from the USDA was in line with expectations, although well behind the norm. There is however talk of an extended period of dryness coming for much of the Corn Belt, which may allow for good advancement to be made. It has been shown in recent years that US farmers can harvest 25% of the entire corn crop in a week, given modern technology and equipment, if the weather is conducive. Dec 14 Corn closed at $3.47 1/2, down 9 1/2 cents; Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.60 1/2, down 9 1/2 cents.
Wheat: The wheat market closed mixed, down in Chicago and up a little in Kansas and Minneapolis. Ukraine said that it had exported 5.9 MMT of wheat so far this season. Rusagrotrans raised their estimate for Russian grain exports (most of which will be wheat) in October from 3.0 MMT to 3.3-3.4 MMT. That would be a modest decline from 3.75 MMT in September, but still a record for the month, beating the previous best October total of 2.88 MMT set in 2011. The President of the Brazilian Millers Association said that wheat imports from the US would decrease sharply in 2015, following record domestic production and a strong recovery in output in neighbouring Argentina, who get a preferential deal in exporting wheat to Brazil as they are part of the Mercosur trade bloc. Brazil imported 6.6 MMT of wheat in 2013, with around half of it coming from the US following poor harvests domestically and in Argentina. They've imported 4.6 MMT of wheat in the first nine months of 2014, with around 2 MMT of that total coming from the US. Pakistan said that they expect growers there to plant 8.91 million hectares of wheat this year, up from 8.83 million a year ago. Production will rise from 25 MMT to 26 MMT in 2015, the Ministry said. Planting takes place October/November, with harvesting April/May. Russia said that it's 2015 wheat harvest was complete on 22.9 million hectares, or 92.9% of plan, producing a crop of 60.4 MMT in bunker weight to date. Average yields are 2.64 MT/ha, up more than 12% from 2.35 MT/ha a year ago. The Russian Grain Union forecast the 2014 wheat crop at 60 MMT in clean weight. The Russian Ministry estimated winter grain plantings at 93.9% complete. Rain is now needed, and fortunately for them that's exactly what is in the forecast, with Agritel predicting the best significant rain even of the autumn in the coming days. Dec 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.06, down 3 1/4 cents; Dec 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.92, up 1 3/4 cents; Dec 14 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.64 3/4, up 1/2 cent.