Chicago Consolidates Ahead Of Weekend And Upcoming Election

02/11/12 -- Soycomplex: Nov 12 Soybeans closed at USD15.27, down 31 1/2 cents; Jan 13 Soybeans closed at USD15.26 3/4, down 33 1/4 cents; Dec 12 Soybean Meal closed at USD475.90, down USD8.40; Dec 12 Soybean Oil closed at 49.26, down 117 points. For the week as a whole Nov 12 beans were down 34 1/4 cents, with Dec 12 meal falling USD7.50 and Dec 12 oil losing 170 points. Weekly export sales for soybeans were strong at 741,200 MT for 2012/13 plus a further 19,400 MT for 2013/14 versus expectations for sales of 500-700 TMT. Soybean shipments of 1.7 MMT this week were also very strong, the highest in fact since Nov 2010. That means that the US now has 75% of the USDA's 2012/13 full season projection of 34.5 MMT already committed just a couple of months into the marketing year. Informa Economics estimated this season's US soybean crop at 2.925 billion bushels, with yields at 38.6 bu/acre. That's a bit higher than last month's 2.86 billion and 37.8 bpa from the USDA, although it is noted that Informa are usually on the high side, in fact they've been above the USDA in nine out of the last ten years heading into the November WASDE report. Rains continue to hamper plantings in Argentina where currently only 4% of the soybean crop is in the ground versus 9% normally. Corn planting is also well behind at 40% versus 57% normally, for now the trade is thinking that this might mean some corn acres getting shifted into beans. Funds were said to have sold around 9,000 soybean contracts on the day, continuing with the recent liquidation theme ahead of the weekend and next week's Presidential elections.

Corn: Dec 12 Corn closed at USD7.39 1/2, down 11 1/2 cents; Mar 13 Corn closed at USD7.42 1/2, down 11 cents. For the week Dec 12 corn was 2 1/2 cents lower, with Mar 13 corn down 1 /12 cents. Funds were estimated as net sellers of 15,000 corn contracts on the day. Weekly export sales were another modest affair at 167,900 MT versus expectations of 110-400 TMT. Corn sales need to average 426 TMT/week to hit the USDA's projections for the full season, and it's been 28 weeks since they've managed to hit that target. US plant closures mean that weekly ethanol production there is running 91,000 barrels/day down on year ago levels. That also needs to change to meet the current USDA forecast of demand for 4.5 billion bushels from the ethanol sector in 2012/13. Informa pegged the US corn crop at 10.738 billion bushels with yields at 122.4 bpa, only modestly better than the USDA's 10.7 billion and 122 bpa estimate. The Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange say that Argentine corn plantings only advanced from 37% complete to 40% done this past week, a very poor weekly performance for considering that they are supposed to be in the middle of the planting season. Undeterred, the USDA attaché in Buenos Aires estimated the 2012/13 corn crop at a record 28.0 MMT. Maizar, the Argentine Corn Growers Association peg the corn crop this season a bit lower at 25.28 MMT, although still a record.

Wheat: Dec 12 CBOT Wheat closed at USD8.64 1/2, down 4 cents; Dec 12 KCBT Wheat closed at USD9.08 3/4, up 1/4 cent; Dec 12 MGEX Wheat closed at USD9.40 1/4, down 3 cents. On the week Chicago wheat was 3/4 cent higher, with Kansas up a half and Minneapolis up a quarter cent. Export sales of 362,900 MT were towards the low end of expectations. As with corn, weekly sales are well short of the required level to meet USDA targets, although demand for US wheat in the second half of the season maybe has more of a chance of correcting that imbalance than it does for US corn. The Russian Ministry said that their grain harvest is almost over at 98.3% complete, producing 72.4 MMT in bunker weight. Output is well down in most areas, particularly the Urals and Siberia where the crop is seen 38% lower at 9.8 MMT, from 15.8 MMT in both cases. Ukraine exported a record 2.9 MMT of grains in October, including 1.45 MMT of wheat and 1.2 MMT of corn. Year-to-date totals are 8.5 MMT, of which 4.1 MMT is wheat, 3.0 MMT corn and 1.6 MMT barley. Winter grain plantings there are now complete. Crop conditions in Ukraine are generally looking much better than this time a year ago when "historic drought unfolded during the fall planting season, drier than the previous 10 years," say Martell Crop Projections.