As you may have noticed I've taken a couple of days off to organise things for the festive period.
Mrs Nogger is useless when it comes round to buying in enough beer. In fact all women are like that I find. "You've got ten cans there, how many more do you need?"
Ten cans, ten bloody cans, what about after breakfast darling? If the Indian government would like to pop round to my house right now, I'll show them what a strategic reserve really looks like.
But it won't be all fun and games over Nogmas, I've got loads of work to crack on with and hope to be unveiling some interesting new features in the New Year.
Hopefully I will resume emailing the headlines out to people again too. Far too many were getting kicked back by anti-spam software, so I've been investigating ways around that which will cost a few pennies but hopefully a sponsor or two will cover that. Get in touch if you're interested.
I read in the paper today that Gordon Brown has received 150 dog turds in the post during 2009! So come on, who's sending the others?
January soybean futures finished 11 cents lower at USD10.01, January soymeal ended USD4.60 lower at USD300.80, and January soyoil finished 5 points lower at 38.28 cents. As you can see both beans and meal closed very close to psychological levels of USD10/bushel and USD300/tonne. With the long break looming, it seems most likely that prices will fall below these levels on book-squaring ahead of 2010. Trade estimates ahead of tomorrow's weekly USDA export inspections range from 45 to 50 million bushels.
March corn futures settled 2 ¼ cents higher at exactly USD4.00. What about that for another psychologically important level? The USDA's should have reported tonight on harvest progress last week but because of a severe snowstorm that report is delayed until tomorrow. Harvest progress last week was at 92% done. Trade estimates ahead of tomorrow's weekly USDA export inspections range from 28 to 32 million bushels. It seems like corn may be the easiest of the three to make out a bullish case for in 2010 based on ethanol-led demand and reduced South American production.
March wheat futures at the CBOT closed at USD5.19 ½, down 8 ½ cents; KCBT ended at USD5.16 ¼, down 8 cents, and MGEX closed at USD5.26 ½, down 8 ¾. Wheat stocks figures just keep getting higher, and combined with year-end pressure that seems likely to drive prices still lower yet as we get through the festive period. News that Egypt appear to be attempting to forge closer ties with Russia on wheat supplies looks like more bad news for US grain. Trade estimates ahead of tomorrow's USDA weekly export inspections report range from 13 to 17 million bushels.
EU wheat futures continued to drift along aimlessly Monday, in what has all the classic hallmarks of being a typically very subdued week.
March Paris milling wheat futures closed up EUR0.25 at EUR131.75/tonne, and London May feed wheat futures ended up GBP0.55 at GBP109.80/tonne.
It's extremely unlikely that anything too significant is going to happen this week (or next) as the entire trade winds down for the festive period.
January might be interesting and provide far more fireworks. The long-awaited opening of the Ensus bioethanol refinery on Teesside, coupled with the possible re-emergence of fund money flowing back into the grains sector, is the best hope that the bulls might have of a rally.
It is certainly quite possible however that too many long holders are pinning all their hopes on these two factors saving the day in 2010.
More than one pundit is looking at the GBP8.25/tonne premium that Nov10 is currently commanding over Jan10 and saying that this is too high. It seems that the UK are in for a wheat crop of at least 1 MMT more next year, and quite likely nearer 2 MMT more, which immediately negates any extra demand from Ensus.
What about Vivergo? Well, who'd like to stake a large quantity of cash on that facility starting up on time right now? Certainly not me.
Meanwhile the price of wheat might not be great, but the price of barley is a total disaster. That means that the EU will produce a wheat crop some 3.6 MMT higher in 2010, according to Strategie Grains, and in addition to that there is the small matter of Lord knows how much intervention barley we will have looking for a home by then too.
Despite widespread doubts as to the validity of official Chinese claims to have had another bumper harvest year in 2009, China's Ministry of Agriculture insist that they are not talking complete rubbish.
A story today on the thoroughly excellent Agrimoney.com quotes the head of the planting administration department at the Ministry downplaying talk of drought damage earlier in the year.
Not only that, he even goes one step further revealing that winter wheat plantings so far have reached 22.5 million hectares, a nice convenient modest increase on year ago levels. Steady away.
Isn't it incredible how China never have so much as even a mini crop wobble, let alone a disaster?
It can't be a coincidence that the most popular dice game in China is called Liar's Dice.