Chicago Close

31/05/11 -- Soybeans: Jul 11 soybeans closed at USD13.76, down 3 3/4 cents; Nov 11 soybeans closed at USD13.63 1/2, down 5 cents; Jul 11 soybean meal closed at USD355.30, down USD0.30; Jul 11 soybean oil closed at 58.49, down 12 points. Beans finished with only modest losses despite weakness from wheat and corn. Month-end selling led funds to shed an estimated 3,000 contracts of beans on the day. Crude oil strength was supportive. After the close the USDA pegged US soybean plantings at 51% complete, compared to 71% normally and below trade expectations for 55-65% done. There's still plenty of time for things to catch up. "Hot temperatures have suddenly developed in US grain belt, the heat wave will continue along with scattered strong thunderstorms in the Midwest corn-soybean area," say Martell Crop Projections.

Corn: Jul 11 corn closed at USD7.47 1/2, down 11 cents; Dec 11 corn closed at USD6.73, down 11 cents. Corn fell on a combination of spillover weakness from wheat following the removal of the Russian export embargo and month-end liquidation. The USDA said that planting progress was 86% done after the close, compared to trade estimates of 85-90% planted vs last weeks 79%. Ohio continues to stand out at only 19% finished vs 93% normally. In its first crop condition report of the season the USDA rated the crop as 63% good/excellent as opposed to 76% last year. Weekly export inspections came in at 35.6 million bushels, around 6 million under what is required to meet the USDA's current target for the 2010/11 marketing year.

Wheat: Jul 11 CBOT wheat closed at USD7.82 1/4, down 37 1/2 cents; Jul 11 KCBT wheat closed at USD9.08, down 35 cents; Jul 11 MGEX wheat closed at USD10.25, down 31 1/4 cents. Wheat was down on the back of the news emanating out of Russia over the weekend that the existing export ban will expire at the end of the month. That's pretty bad news for a country that is expected to export 59% of it's annual production in 20101/11. Spring wheat planting progress increased from 54% last week to 68%, towards the top end of trade estimates. North Dakota is only 55% done vs 93% normally. Spring wheat emerged is also lagging at 40% compared to 81% on average. Winter wheat conditions improved one point good/excellent to 33% and fell on pip poor/very poor to 44%. Still a pretty poor performance it has to be said.