Chicago Beans And Meal At Lowest Levels Since October

15/01/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans and meal closed at their lowest level since October, and are looking under a bit of pressure with record Brazilian (and if not record, then close to, from Argentina) crop on the way very soon. That said, the seasonal tendency is that beans frequently look a bit sloppy in January and February, when the lows of the year are often set. The sharply lower move came despite another round of strong weekly export sales for US beans. These came in at 1.13 MMT for 2014/15 and a further 305,000 MT for 2015/16. It will not surprise you to hear that China were the main taker in both crop years. Actual shipments themselves were also strong again this week at 1.75 MMT. The US has now shipped 31.4 MMT of soybeans so far this season, with a further 12.9 MMT of outstanding sales. That means that US exporters already have 92% of the USDA target for the season committed versus only around 75% normally at this time. Note that the current 2014/15 season is only 19 weeks old. "The fear or maybe reality of the US export trade is that it will come to a grinding halt shortly as demand is filled with fresh South American beans," said Benson Quinn. Also possibly catching traders' eyes today were weekly meal export sales of only 72,100 MT, the second poor week in a row. The December NOPA crush came in at 165.4 million bushels, which was around 1.5 million less than the trade expected. Looking ahead, US farmers will plant 88 million acres of soybeans in 2015 said Informa, that's up more than 5% versus 83.7 last year. Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $9.91, down 18 1/4 cents; May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.97 1/4, down 17 1/4 cents; Mar 15 Soybean Meal closed at $326.70, down $8.80; Mar 15 Soybean Oil closed at 32.99, up 17 points.

Corn: The corn market closed slightly lower. Weekly export sales of 818,800 MT for 2014/15 and 25,200 MT for 2015/16 were in line with trade expectations for sales of around 650,000 MT to 1 MMT. Actual shipments themselves were pretty modest though at 400,200 MT. Nevertheless, total commitments are now 63% of the USDA target for the season versus 60% a year ago and 57% on average at this time. Separately, the USDA also reported 127,000 MT of corn sold to Japan for 2014/15 shipment under the daily reporting system. With crude oil prices remaining under pressure, the sustainability of ethanol margins is under scrutiny. US ethanol values fell to new 6-year lows today. Informa estimated US corn plantings in 2015 at 88.6 million acres, up versus 88.0 million previously, but around 2 million below last year. The USDA are due to give us their first glance at US planting potential this year towards the end of next month at their annual Outlook Forum, before the traditional March 31st prospective plant report is released. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange said that Argentine corn planting is near 88% complete. They were unchanged on their estimate for plantings of corn for grain at 3 million hectares, down 21% from a year ago. The Rosario Grain Exchange report plenty of rain in northern and north eastern Argentina, which will help with grain filling, they said. In contrast, the south west of the country is a bit dry, they added. The Argentine Ag Ministry report that farmers there have almost 97% of their old crop corn sold, and approaching 23% of their new crop already committed versus only 7% this time a year ago. Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.80, down 1 cent; May 15 Corn closed at $3.87 1/4, down 1 1/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market in Chicago closed lower for a seventh straight session, after early attempts at a rally fizzled out. Weekly export sales hopes weren't high, justifiably it would seem as these came in at a humdrum 284,800 MT, even if that was up 89 percent from the previous week's disaster it was still 11 percent below the prior 4-week average. There were also net sales of 92,400 MT for 2015/16, which were mostly unknown destinations, but that isn't going to get anyone too excited. The strong dollar remains a thorn in the side of US wheat export hopes it would seem. French wheat won a second clean sweep in Egypt's tender today, with US wheat not even offered. Argentine wheat was in he line-up, but was dearer than French even before more expensive freight was added on. There were no offers from Russia or Ukraine. There was supposed to be a "memorandum of cooperation" published by the Ukraine government today, detailing exactly what they are supposed to have agreed to with the country's wheat exporters. In classic Ukraine style it wasn't forthcoming. Some reports suggested that exports in Jan and Feb were supposed to be limited to 200,000 MT each, although that January volume had already been exceeded when the supposed "agreement" was made. Confusion reigns. The Argentine wheat harvest is over at 11.2 MMT, with yields ultimately coming in lower than hoped for, said the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange. Production in 2013/14 was 10.1 MMT, so this represents an increase of nearly 11% on last year. The Argentine Ministry said that farmers there still have 18% of last year's crop to sell, and that this season's production is nearing 45% sold versus 24% a year ago. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.32 3/4, down 5 cents; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.73, down 2 cents; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.83 1/4, up 2 3/4 cents.