Overnight Markets And The Beginning Of The End For Kirchner?

eCBOT grains are narrowly mixed in what, for once, has been a relatively quiet and stable overnight session, with wheat 2-3c higher and soybeans & corn down 1-2c.

In Argentina there is still no rain in the 24 hour forecast for the soy and corn areas highlighted:

The Argy Ag Secretariat yesterday lowered its estimate for corn & soybean plantings due to the drought. Bean area was cut sharply to 16.5 million hectares (41 million acres) from a previous estimate of 17.8 million hectares. Corn area was cut more modestly from 3.5 million hectares to 3.4 million.

Now that the Argy wheat harvest has been completed, the Ag Secretariat reduced its estimate for final production to 8.3mmt. This is a huge decrease on last season and leaves the country with very little to offer on the export arena for the whole of 2009.

As a side issue, very little wheat to export also means sharply lower revenues for the Kirchner-led government. If the soy and corn crops prove to be similarly drought afflicted, and I think they will, this is going to blow a massive hole in the Argy budget this year. The strikes and civil unrest of 2008 will start to look like a walk in the park. Bye bye Mrs Kirchner.

Japan has bought 157,000mt wheat overnight, as expected, 90,000mt of it US material. Egypt also bought wheat late yesterday afternoon, some of it also being US origin. It's nothing that much to write home about, US weekly export sales will be scrutinised later this afternoon to see if they throw up any pearls of wisdom.

Weekly export sales for soybeans have been very strong so far this year, the trade will be hoping that that trend continues later today. Meanwhile, South Korea is seeking to buy 165,000 tons of corn today.

Australian wheat futures are higher overnight with front month ASX march milling wheat A$6.50 higher at A$296.50/tonne, A$45.50 up from the contract low set mid-December.