CBOT Closing Comments


Corn futures closed slightly lower, pressured by the USDA reporting just 216,000 tonnes of corn export sales for the week ending January 8, which was below trade estimates of 300-500,000 tonnes. Corn demand continues to lag as the ethanol industry faces stiff competition, and negative crush margins, with crude oil below $40/barrel. South American weather is the only friend corn has got at the moment, with time running out for crops in Argentina & Brazil. Respected analyst Michael Cordonnier says that the Brazilian corn crop could only yield 48 million tonnes from 58.6 million tonnes last year, according to media reports. March corn at closed $3.65 1/4, down 1 1/4 cents


Beans were easily the strongest leg of the complex, off and running from the start after the USDA reported weekly export sales of 1,361,561 tonnes for the week ending January 8, well above trade estimates of 450-550,000 tonnes. China took 861,800 tonnes of that, which is a pretty significant volume. The weather in Argentina is becoming pretty dire, and it seems that current production estimates may well fall very far short of the mark. In Brazil things are a little better, that didn't stop Michael Cordonnier dropping his production estimate to 55 million tonnes from 60 million last year, adding that things could end up around 50 million if the dry pattern continues through March. March soybean settled at $9.94 1/2, up 23 cents


CBOT wheat finished lower, with the USDA providing little for the bulls by reporting wheat export sales for the week ending January 8 of just 87,922 tonnes, well below trade estimates of 200-400,000 tonnes. Extremely cold weather in the US Plains and western Midwest provided some support on fears of winter kill. March CBOT wheat finished at $5.68 3/4, down 5 1/2 cents.