Chicago Close

22/12/11 -- Soybeans: Beans closed 7-9 cents higher, with meal around USD0.50 lower and oil 100 points or so higher. Weekly export sales were 653,400 MT for 2011/12 and 75,000 MT for 2012/13 - significantly better the anticipated 400-600,000 MT. Exports of 934,200 MT were primarily to China (599,400 MT). This was the sixth session in a row that beans have closed higher on the back of hot and dry conditions in South America. The outlook remains dry if somewhat cooler next week.

Corn: Corn closed with little change, a cent or so higher nearby and 4 cents weaker on new crop. Weekly export sales were robust at 715,000 MT for 2011/12 plus a further 238,000 MT for delivery in 2012/13 compared to the expected 450-650,000 MT. In addition weekly shipments of 1,300,800 MT were a marketing-year high. The trade is starting to factor in lower production numbers for Argentina, normally the world's second largest shipper of corn after the US. The USDA currently estimate that they will produce 29 MMT in 2012, the trade is now thinking more like 25 MMT.

Wheat: Chicago wheat was 3-5 cents higher with Kansas up 1-2 cents and Minneapolis mixed 2 cents up to 2 cents down. Weekly export sales of 362,300 MT were in line with the expected 300-450,000 MT. Funds continue to whittle away at their Chicago short position, covering in an estimated 2,000 contracts on the day. Weekly shipments want watching closely. They need to be 427,400 MT/week to reach the USDA's 2011/12 export target of 24.5 MMT, but they've only managed that three times in the past eleven weeks.