Chicago Closing Comments - Friday Night

14/03/14 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed lower, with the worst of the weakness at the front end in expiring Mar 14. Concerns about the Chinese economy, and the suggestion that Reuters apparent "confirmation" of the cancelling 500-600 TMT of South American soybean purchases yesterday was only the tip of the iceberg, unsettled the market. The Commitment of Traders report shows fund money shedding around 15,000 of their near record long position in soybeans for the week through to Tuesday night. Even so, they still hold a hefty long position of over 192k contracts. Goldman Sachs estimated the US 2014 bean acreage at 81.0 million, versus Allendale's suggested 83.2 million, the USDA's Outlook Forum figure of 79.5 million and 76.5 million a year ago. The NOPA February crush report comes out on Monday, with the trade expecting a figure of around 140.9 million bushels. In January the crush was 156.943 million and in February last year it was 136.322 million. Brazil is forecast mostly dry over the weekend, whilst scattered rains and thunderstorms are in the forecast for Argentina. Funds were estimated to have been net sellers of around 3-4,000 soybean contracts on the day. Mar 14 Soybeans closed at $13.76, down 14 3/4 cents; May 14 Soybeans closed at $13.88 1/2, down 7 3/4 cents; Mar 14 Soybean Meal closed at $449.00, down $0.60; Mar 14 Soybean Oil closed at 42.02, down 75 points. For the week that puts Mar 14 beans down over 80 cents, with meal down $16.00 and oil shedding more than 200 points.

Corn: The corn market closed generally a cent or two higher, with the exception of the expiring front month Mar 14, which crashed 12 cents lower. Massive fund buying continues to support corn, with today's Commitment of Traders report showing them adding more than 50k lots to their relatively new long-holding, to add to the more than 70k that they bought the previous week. They are now net long of almost 210k lots. The spec community clearly feel that if the Ukraine crisis is going to affect anything, then it's more likely to be unplanted corn. The country also still has around 3 MMT of corn left to ship in 2013/14. Ukraine's grain stocks as of March 1 were said to be 16.2 MMT, up 23 percent on a year ago. Ukraine ports, except those in Crimea, are said to still be functioning more or less as normal. The USDA attaché in Japan estimated the country's 2014/15 corn imports at 16.0 MMT versus 15.5 MMT in 2013/14. Goldman Sachs estimated the US 2014 corn acreage at 93.5 million versus Allendale's 92.349 million from yesterday, the USDA Outlook Forum figure of 92.0 million and the 95.4 million planted a year ago. Informa's US acreage estimates come out next week. The USDA will issue theirs at the end of the month. A dry weekend in Brazil should aid the soybean harvest and safrinha corn planting. There's talk that Argentine port workers may strike next week. Oman bought 20,000 MT of Argentine corn for May/June shipment yesterday. Low prices mean that many EU countries such as Romania, France and Poland will cut their corn area this year, according to a report on Reuters. Mar 14 Corn closed at $4.72 1/4, down 12 cents; May 14 Corn closed at $4.86, up 1 cent. For the week, Mar 14 corn fell 8 3/4 cents, with May 14 down 3 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market regained it's mojo, generally closing with gains of 10-14 cents on the day. Estonia’s President added some fuel to the fire after he was quoted as saying that Big Bad Vlad plans to invade Ukraine. He may well be right too. Whilst the country plants very little spring wheat (which contributes around 5% of the national crop), the crisis is seen having a negative impact on the usage of inputs and therefore potentially cutting winter wheat yields. Fund money has also been busy coming into the wheat pit in the past week, with the latest Commitment of Traders report showing them flipping to a net long position of around 10,500 contracts in Chicago wheat from a short of around 6,000 a week previously. They've also been adding to their net long in Kansas and Minneapolis wheat, with Benson Quinn Commodities saying that their long holding in the latter is the highest since late 2011. Fund money was estimated as adding further 5,000 CBOT wheat contracts to it's new long-holding today. In addition to Ukraine, the market is fretting over US wheat conditions. "Drought has worsened in Texas and Oklahoma this winter - two of the top US bread-wheat states. Very dry conditions are beginning to creep into southern Kansas as well," said Martell Crop Projections. "It has been the coldest Midwest winter in decades causing deep penetrating frost that threatens to delay corn- and spring wheat planting. Strong warming with sunshine would be most desirable to melt snow and begin warming frozen fields. However, the temperature outlook is still threatening below-average temperatures in the majority of corn belt," they added. Oman bought 40 TMT of Australian wheat, 20 TMT of Canadian wheat and 20 TMT of Argentine barley for May/June shipment yesterday. Mar 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $6.90 1/4, up 11 1/4 cents; Mar 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $7.44, up 13 3/4 cents; Mar 14 MGEX Wheat closed at $7.51, unchanged. All these contracts went off the board today. For the week CBOT wheat added 44 cents, with Kansas putting on 28 3/4 cents and Minneapolis losing a cent.