CBOT Closing Comments


March soybean futures closed at USD9.61 1/2, up 16 1/2 3 cents, November soybean futures were at USD9.35 3/4, up 9 3/4 cents, March soymeal futures at USD281.70, up USD5.30, and March soy oil futures at 38.83, up 31 points. Weekly export inspections were solid at 34.99 million bushels as China returns from holiday, with the cumulative total for the year at 1.059 billion bushels. There were some concerns over crop losses in Argentina after very heavy weekend rains, which prompted some short covering. South Brazil and Argentina got more than 2 inches of rain last week in recurring thunderstorms, said Martell Crop projections. It was the second week in a row of heavy rainfall. Heat continues to plague soybeans in Paraguay and Rio Grande do Sul, however temperatures have moderated in Parana, they added.


March corn futures closed at USD3.71 ½, up 11 1/2 cents, and May corn futures at USD3.82 ¾, up 11 cents. Firmer crude oil and a weaker dollar helped corn as did very wet conditions in some Midwest areas already sparking planting delay fears. The leading US corn states Iowa and Illinois are extremely wet and may flood this spring, delaying corn planting, say Martell Crop Projections. Soil profiles may be full of water, delaying fieldwork and planting due to near-record precipitation in the past several months. North-Central Iowa has received 12.4 inches of moisture between October 1 and mid February. That compares to 6.3 inches normally and threatens to break a 1970-71 record, they added. Wetness in South America also got some attention. Weekly export inspections at 34.189 million bushels were about as expected. Short-covering was also a feature.


March CBOT wheat futures closed above USD5.00 at USD5.01 1/4, up 11 1/2 cents, March KCBT wheat futures at USD5.08 ½, up 10 1/4 cents, and March MGEX wheat futures at USD5.16 ½, up 8 cents. Short covering was also a feature for wheat, where fund money is particularly oversold, with the Commitment of Traders report showing the large non-commercials net short 65,303 contracts as of February 16. Weekly export inspections were 17.708 million bushels, on the upper end of estimates. West Texas wheat growing areas have received 3.5 inches of precipitation since mid January, 2.5 times the normal amount, completely replenishing field moisture for spring growth, say Martell Crop Projections. The closest analog for this wet winter in Texas is 1982-83, also an El Nino year. Very cool spring growing conditions followed on the heels of a wet winter further improving the yield potential. The High Plains wheat crop finished with an outstanding yield, more than 25% above average. If a similar outcome occurs in 2010, it would offset small acreage, as Texas growers planted 16% less wheat this year, they added.