What To Keep An Eye On This Week

Tonight we have the USDA's planting progress reports and crop condition ratings (not for soybeans yet as it's too early for them). Further good progress is expected to have been made this past week. Corn was 87% planted and beans 38% done as of a week ago. I'd expect corn to be in the 95-98% region tonight and beans past halfway, maybe around 55% planted. The USDA had 67% of the corn crop rated good to excellent a week ago.

On Tuesday the US Senate vote on whether to extend the USD1/gallon biodiesel tax credit (which expired on Dec 31st 2009) until the end of the year. Biodiesel producers say that the industry isn't currently viable without the tax break, and have mothballed several plants since it disappeared. Tomorrows vote is part of a wider legislation to extend US unemployment benefits. If it gets the green light then that would be supportive for soybeans and oil.

The Chinese government's corn auction also takes place on Tuesday, they are offering up more corn than they did last week, but the vast majority of it remains in the northeast. Far away from the buyers in the south who have been booking US corn lately.

Will the Chinese be back for more US corn this week? Probably yes, if they are able to obtain the necessary import permits. Chinese corn prices on the Dalian exchange closed a little easier this morning, but shipping corn in from the US still offers significant savings for feedmills in the south of the country.

The USDA will report on export sales on Thursday, all eyes will be on the corn numbers for further confirmation of sales to the Far East.

Barley intervention in Europe comes to an end this week. It doesn't look like there will be a last minute rush, certainly not here where no offers at all were made last week at GBP90.97/MT less adjustments. So it looks like we will end this season with "just" 150,000 MT of intervention barley to dispose of sometime here in the UK.

The weather in the UK is set to cool down as the week progresses, so much so that there may even be light frosts on the cards again in the far north. Before that we have one last hot day, according to the forecasters, with a possibility of 30C in the capital today. The cool down has already started up here in Yorkshire that's for sure. Rain will be what everyone is hoping for, but so far only a few showers seem to be on the cards rather than the widespread soaking most farmers would appreciate.

That gets us through another week then, with a nice long weekend to look forward to. For the record the US is also closed next Monday for Memorial Day.