The week ahead: All eyes on USDA

Monday: Crop ratings. Corn crop ratings stabilized last week and could head downward in the data for the week ended Aug. 10. Spring wheat ratings also declined last week so markets will watch to see if further deterioration has taken place.

Tuesday: the August Crop Production Report. USDA stepped up their sampling for the report which will have the first survey-based estimates of the U.S. corn, soybean and other spring-planted crops. Private estimates came out over the course of the past week as traders geared up for the data.

Tuesday: Trade data update. In the midst of the August Crop Production Report, USDA will also provide another update of the U.S. ag trade situation. A strong export surplus should continue in the monthly update. Plus, details on specific commodities will also be important.

Wednesday: Oil stocks data. The EIA release their weekly US stocks data for crude oil, gasoline & distillates. Crude oil inventories were higher than expected last week causing crude to crash immediately after the figures were released.

Thursday: Weekly Export Sales. The rise in the U.S. dollar does make U.S. grains less competitive on the world market, but sales tallies have not yet tailed off. In fact, in some cases, a rise in the dollar could spur some extra business as countries who have waited to buy push the button.