CBOT Close: February Break Or More Than That?

15/02/11 -- The market regularly gets a well-documented "February break" - a buying opportunity at this time of year, rarely though does it come from such lofty heights. Are we seeing one such opportunity now, or a major reversal? Only time will tell. You can pay your money and take your choice, except you'd better have plenty of money behind you because this time round the stakes are higher than they've ever been.

CBOT soybeans closed with losses of around 33-35c, with meal USD9 lower and oil down around 115 points. "Unknown" cancelled a couple of cargoes of US beans, the trade concludes that this means China. Chinese buying is now starting to focus on South America. Brazil is expected to have a record harvest, and things have bucked up considerably in Argentina. The USDA yesterday released interim projections for 2011 plantings of 78 million acres, up from 77.4 million last season.

Corn fell 5-7c on old crop where stocks are still tight, but 16c or so on new crop. the The USDA's baseline projections yesterday pegged 2011 plantings at 92 million acres, a jump of almost 4 million from last year. Next week's Outlook Forum will maybe give a more accurate reflection on potential plantings this year. Near record length in fund positions in corn prompted the liquidation of an estimated 10,000 contracts today. The USDA announced 120,000 MT of US corn for 2010/11 delivery sold to Egypt today.

CBOT wheat fell 30-32c, KCBT wheat 31-34c and MGEX wheat 32-28c. Global wheat weather conditions seem to be improving with some heavy snow in North China winter wheat areas such as Hebei and Shandong, according to Martell Crop Projections. US wheat hasn't fared too well in recent international export tenders, picking up only modest amounts faced with stiff competition from the likes of Australia and Canada. Meanwhile US stocks are more than adequate and the new crop harvest is only 14-15 weeks away.