Chicago Grains Closing Comments - Thursday

29/01/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed a little lower. Weekly export sales of 888,200 MT for 2014/15 were up noticeably from the previous week and defied expectations for a wholesale switch in demand to South America. There was also a sale of 20,800 MT for 2015/16. Trade expectations were for sales of only around 300-400 TMT. Actual shipments were robust again at 1,629,600 MT. Total commitments are now 94% of the USDA total for the season versus 79% typically at this time. Meal sales of 296,500 MT for 2014/15 were also strong. The Philippines were said to have bought 80-85,000 MT of US meal for May-July shipment, although that is not yet confirmed. Agroconsult trimmed their Brazilian production forecast to 94 MMT from 95 MMT previously on dryness in central areas. That's still easily a record volume though. MDA CropCast raised both their Brazilian and Argentine soybean production estimates a little. They now go for 93.49 MMT and 55.5 MMT respectively. That's a 0.5 MMT increase in Argentina due to improved rains in the south. The Argentine Ag Ministry says that growers there have only sold 77.65% of their 2013/14 soybean crop and are 5.71% done on new crop. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange said that Argentine farmers had now planted 20.2 million ha of the anticipated final area of 20.4 million. Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $9.68 1/4, down 2 cents; May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.74 3/4, down 2 1/2 cents; Mar 15 Soybean Meal closed at $337.90, up $0.50; Mar 15 Soybean Oil closed at 29.54, down 80 points.

Corn: The corn market closed a little easier, after trading in a fairly narrow range. Weekly export sales of just over 1 MMT were in line with trade forecasts. The US now has 71% of the USDA's corn export target for the season on the books versus 62% typically at this time. Exporters also sold 231,900 MT of sorghum, continuing with the recent theme. Sorghum shipments this week were 300,700 MT with the vast majority (289,500 MT) going to China. On top of that the USDA also reported sales of 116,000 MT of sorghum sold to unknown, split 58,000 MT for 2014/15 shipment and 58,000 MT for 2015/16 shipment, under the daily reporting system. US sorghum sales are already 100% of the USDA forecast for the season. MDA CropCast cut their outlook on Brazil's corn crop by 0.6 MMT to 76.2 MMT due to acreage reductions. They went unchanged on Argentina at 21.7 MMT. The strong dollar remains a problem for US corn exports. Egypt and Spain were said to have bought Ukraine corn yesterday for March shipment. South Korea's KOCOPIA bought 55,000 MT of corn of US, South America, or Black Sea origin for May shipment. South Korea's NOFI bought 225,000 MT of optional origin corn for July/August shipment. The Argentine Ag Ministry estimated that farmers there have almost 98% of their old crop corn sold, along with nearly 23% of their new crop. The latter figure is well ahead of only 7.69% a year ago. The Rosario Grain Exchange said that 80% of the corn in their area is rated very good to excellent, and the remaining 20% is good. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange said that Argentine corn planting is 95% complete. Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.71 1/2, down 1 3/4 cents; May 15 Corn closed at $3.80, down 1 1/2 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market managed a rare higher close, even if it was far from convincing. The best thing to come out of the session was maybe to see support at $5/bushel for Chicago wheat hold. That was helped by weekly export sales coming in at 544,400 MT, which was better than modest expectations. Saudi Arabia are tendering for 660,000 MT of optional origin wheat. It's possible that the US might win a share of that business, although the competition will be tough. Jordan bought 100,000 MT of wheat of unknown origin. Egypt could be back in the market next week it is thought. South Korea's KFA seek 30,000 MT of feed wheat for April shipment. Tunisia seeks 117,000 MT of wheat and 50,000 MT of barley, both of optional origin. Nicaragua were said to have bought 30,000 MT of Russian wheat. India are said to be pondering selling 0.5-1.0 MMT of their surplus wheat stocks onto the market, although they might not like the price. On the weather front, US Southern Plains winter wheat is expected to see good moisture this weekend. The Ukraine Ministry say that 82% of winter wheat there is in good to satisfactory condition. Which means that 18% of the crop is in poor shape. The Argentine Ag Ministry said that farmers there still had almost 18% of their old crop 2013/14 wheat to sell, even though the new crop harvest is now over. Strangely then, they estimate that new crop wheat sales are at 48.63% sold versus 28.62% a year ago. Kazakhstan's final official numbers put their 2014 grain crop at 17.2 MMT versus the 2013 final grain crop of 18.2 MMT. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.07 3/4, up 2 1/2 cents; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.44, up 8 1/4 cents; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.59 1/4, up 4 1/4 cents.