Chicago Close - Thursday

11/04/13 -- Soycomplex: Weekly soybean sales of a combined 383,700 MT fell short of trade expectations of 5-800 TMT, although most of these (319,200 MT) were for already tight old crop. Total US commitments are now 99% of the USDA's upwardly revised target of 36.74 MMT worth of exports this season, and the vast majority of that has already been shipped. There's talk that 1-2 US bean cargoes were sold out of the PNW this week for April shipment too, keeping old crop availability tight. There are reports that Brazilian dock workers will strike on Apr 22, also supportive for old crop US soybean demand. MDA CropCast left their 2012/13 soybean production forecasts for both Brazil and Argentina unchanged at 81.43 MMT and 48.54 MMT respectively. Both are well below the USDA's 83.5 MMT and 51.5 MMT. Wilmar International said China’s soybean imports may fall this year due to bird flu. The price of a chicken McNuggets meal in Shanghai is apparently down from GBP3.60 to GBP2.00 due to consumer reluctance to eat chicken. There are now 38 confirmed human cases of Chinese bird flu with 10 human deaths. Fund buying in beans was estimated at around 3,000 contracts on the day. May 13 Soybeans closed at USD14.02, up 9 1/4 cents; Jul 13 Soybeans closed at USD13.68 1/4, up 3/4 cent; May 13 Soybean Meal closed at USD395.00, up USD2.10; May 13 Soybean Oil closed at 49.77, down 26 points.

Corn: Weekly export sales of a combined 476 TMT were at the top end of the 250-500 TMT estimated by the trade, with 185,200 MT of that old crop. Cumulative sales are only 44.8% of last year’s total versus a USDA target of 51.8%. There's talk that China bought 1-2 cargoes of Argentine corn to test for GMO for April/May shipment. Vietnam bought 15 TMT of Indian corn for May shipment. India’s Farm Minister estimated the 2012/13 corn crop at 21.06 MMT versus 21.76 MMT a year ago. MDA CropCast left their 2012/13 Brazilian corn production estimate unchanged at 74.1 MMT, with Argentina also the same as last week at 23.1 MMT. For 2013/14 they cut Brazil by 0.9 MMT to 70.3 MMT and dropped Argentina by 4.7 MMT to 22.3 MMT. US corn belt weather is forecast cool and wet for the next 10-14 days, delaying early planting hopes. "The preliminary 13/14 U.S. corn production estimate is 13.423 billion bushels. Frequent showers across the central and southern Midwest and northern Delta are maintaining wet soils, and the wetness combined with cool temperatures are keeping corn planting very slow in these areas. Some planting will likely occur this weekend and early next week as drier weather returns, but showers should build back into the region later next week which will slow planting again," said MDA CropCast. Funds were estimated as being net buyers of around 3,000 corn contracts on the day. May 13 Corn closed at USD6.51 1/4, up 2 1/4 cents; Jul 13 Corn closed at USD6.33 1/2, up 1 cent.

Wheat: Weekly export sales of 339,500 MT were at the low end of trade ideas of 3-600 TMT. The USDA did however also confirm the sale of 360 TMT of US SRW wheat to China in the afternoon. Trade gossip suggests that they have bought at least double that volume in the last week. The FAO estimated the 2013 global wheat crop at 690 MMT, unchanged from its previous estimate and up 4.4% from a year ago. Asian wheat buyers are said to have bought 1.5 MMT of wheat in the past 2 weeks on this latest price dip. The trade is adamant that some, as yet unquantifiable, damage has been done to the US winter wheat crop in the past week. The Kansas low on Tuesday was 16 degrees F and Wednesday’s low was a frigid 13 degrees. Oklahoma’s low was in the mid-20s with freezing rain. MDA CropCast cut their 2013/14 world wheat production estimate to 684.6 MMT, down 1.1 MMT from last week due "mainly to dryness and cold damage in the Plains wheat belt and cold in Europe. Very cold temperatures in the southwestern Plains this past week resulted in some damage to jointing wheat," they said. Taiwan was in the market for 83,980 MT of US wheat. Bangladesh bought 50 TMT of optional origin, probably Indian, wheat in a tender. Funds were net buyers of an estimated 1,000 CBOT wheat contracts on the day. May 13 CBOT Wheat closed at USD6.97 3/4, up 1 cent; May 13 KCBT Wheat closed at USD7.38 3/4, up 8 3/4 cents; May 13 MGEX Wheat closed at USD7.89 1/2, up 5 cents.