CBOT Closing Comments


March soybean futures closed at USD9.51, up 9 ½ cents, November soybean futures ended at USD9.41, up 11 ½ cents, March soymeal futures were at USD273.20, up USD1.10/tonne and March soy oil futures at 39.29, up 76 points. A weaker dollar and firmer crude oil helped things, although the size of South American production still weighs. There is no doubt that Argentina soybeans will make a record crop this season, but questions over diseases may limit upward movement, says Gail Martell, of Martell Crop Projections. February weather turned wet in the key soybean provinces addressing crop needs during the pod filling stage. However, very warm and sticky weather this month also promoted the spread of disease. The Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange kept the soybean estimate at 52 MMT. That still represents a record, despite talk of worsening disease, adds Gail.


March corn futures closed at USD3.78, up 5 ¾ cents, and May corn futures ended at USD3.89, up 5 ¾ cents. A weak dollar and firmer crude oil was helpful, although improved production prospects from South America are bearish. The Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange boosted its estimate of Argentina corn production to 20.2 MMT and higher than the previous 19.2 MMT peg, says Gail Martell. This would allow Argentina to resume its role as a major corn exporter, second only to the United States in global trade, she adds.


March CBOT wheat futures closed at USD5.06 ½, up 16 ¾ cents, March KCBT wheat futures were at USD5.11, up 14 ¼ cents, and March MGEX wheat futures at USD5.16 ¾, up 13 ¾ cents. The steep rise can perhaps best be attributed to a short covering rally, with heavily short commodity funds buying an estimated 3,000 contracts. The El Nino effect produces a strong wet signal in the Southern Plains in winter. Moisture in the past 5-6 weeks has been especially good in Texas and western Oklahoma. The Kansas wheat crop also has benefited from increasing moisture in February that will improve spring growth and development. The message is that hard red wheat production may be much better than predicted from a smaller crop area, down 12% from last year, say Martell Crop Projections.