Chicago Rises Buoyed By Strongest US Wheat Export Sales In Almost 2-Years

28/12/12 -- Soycomplex: Jan 13 Soybeans closed at USD14.24, up 5 1/4 cents; Mar 13 Soybeans closed at USD14.18, up 4 cents; Jan 13 Soybean Meal closed at USD427.70, down USD2.10; Jan 13 Soybean Oil closed at 48.94, up 65 points. For the week that puts front month beans 6 3/4 cents lower, with meal down USD6.10 and oil up 23 points. Funds were estimated to have been net buyers of around 2,000 soybean contracts on the day. Weekly export sales were below expectations at only a net 87,000 MT, by virtue of cancellations of 272,300 MT to China and 111,000 MT to unknown destinations. Even so sales are massively ahead of the level required to meet USDA targets. Weekly shipments were strong again at 1,153,800 MT - a record thirteenth week in a row that they've topped the 1 MMT mark. In addition, the USDA announced 165 TMT of US beans sold to China for 2012/13 delivery under the daily reporting system. They also announced 30 TMT of US soybean oil sold to unknown for 2012/13 delivery, extending a run of very strong oil sales lately. South Korea also bought 25 TMT of US beans for May shipment. The Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange placed the 2012/13 Argentine soybean area at 19.7 million hectares, unchanged from their previous estimate. They said that 80.1% of the crop has been planted versus 73.6% a week ago and 80.6% a year ago. The Argentina Ag Ministry estimated the bean area a tad lower at 19.355 million hectares. They said 84% of the Argentine bean crop has been planted versus 77% a week ago and 87% a year ago. Both area estimates are below the USDA's 19.8 million hectare forecast.

Corn: Mar 13 Corn closed at USD6.94, up 2 1/2 cents; May 13 Corn closed at USD6.96 3/4, up 2 1/4 cents. For the week Mar 13 corn was 8 cents lower. Weekly export sales were disappointing yet again at only 104,300 MT, less even than last week's paltry 114,400 MT. Total export commitments now stand at 44 percent of the USDA target compared to the 5-year average of 57 percent. Weekly shipments were so so at best coming in at 286,600 MT. The Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange estimated the 2012/13 Argentine corn area at 3.4 million hectares, unchanged from their previous estimate and down 12% from a year ago. They say that 74.7% of the crop has been planted versus 67.0% a week ago and 79.7% a year ago. The Argentine Ag Ministry estimate the 2012/13 Argentine corn area much higher at 4.575 million hectares. They say that 81% of the crop has been planted versus 74% a week ago and 85% a year ago. The Ministry are thought to be deliberately over-estimating the crop in a transparent attempt to keep a lid on inflation. The USDA estimate the Argentine planted area at 3.7 million hectares. The Argentine Corn Association, Maizar, estimate Argentina’s 2012/13 corn crop at 26–27 MMT, although that is down 1-2 MMT from their previous estimate it would still beat the previous record of 25.2 MMT set two years ago. The weekly US ethanol grind of 834,000 barrels per day beat the level required to hit USDA targets by around 11,000 bpd.

Wheat: Mar 13 CBOT Wheat closed at USD7.78 3/4, up 6 1/2 cents; Mar 13 KCBT Wheat closed at USD8.26, up 2 3/4 cents; Mar 13 MGEX Wheat closed at USD8.67 3/4, up 3 cents. For the week that puts front month Chicago wheat down 13 3/4 cents, with Kansas down 16 cents and Minneapolis falling 13 3/4 cents. Weekly export sales topped 1 MMT and were the highest genuine weekly total in almost 2 years (ignoring carryover volume when switching between crop years). This was the second week in a row that wheat export sales have beaten those for soybeans and corn. Even so, the total percent of wheat sold or shipped is still running well behind the 5 year average pace, but there do finally appear to be signs that things will catch up with USDA targets now we are into the second half of the season. SRW sales were well above the average needed to hit the USDA export target – with 80% of that already sold. HRW sales have picked up with this week’s sales also exceeding the average needed to hit the USDA target. The Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange estimated the 2012/13 wheat crop there at 9.8 MMT, unchanged from their previous estimate, but well down on last year. They say that 67.4% of the crop has been harvested versus 78.5% a year ago. The weekly commitment of traders' report shows that large spec positions (futures and options combined) now hold a net wheat short of 66,517 contracts, which may limit the downside.