Chicago Close - Friday

20/01/12 -- Soybeans: Mar 12 Soybeans closed at USD11.87, down 10 cents; May 12 Soybeans closed at USD11.95 1/2, down 8 3/4 cents; Mar 12 Soybean Meal closed at USD311.90, down USD3.80; Mar 12 Soybean Oil closed at 50.43, down 63 points. On the week as a whole beans gained 28 1/2 cents, meal USD10.40 and oil 14 points. Weekly soybean export sales were above expectations of 500-900 TMT at 991,100 MT, of which more than a third was to China. They won't be back for much next week as it's their Lunar New Year celebrations. Informa Economics estimated spring soybean plantings in the US at 74.568 million acres, down a fraction from their December estimate and over 400,000 below the area in 2011. Funds were said to have been sellers of around 5,000 soybean contracts on the day, squaring things off a little ahead of a weekend that may bring decent rains to Argentina.

Corn: Mar 12 Corn closed at USD6.11 1/2, up 5 1/2 cents; May 12 Corn closed at USD6.16 3/4, up 4 3/4 cents. On the week corn was 12 cents higher. Funds were said to have bought 6,000 contracts on the day, making them a suggested net buyer of 14,000 on the week. Weekly export sales were good at 759,900 MT - in line with trade estimates of 500-850 TMT and included 132,200 MT for China. New crop Dec 12 finished 5 1/4 cents lower after Informa estimated 2012 US corn plantings at a very large 94.748 million acres, up 2.8 million on last year and easily the largest since the war. Should they be right and US yields were to fall back into line with the trend then the US would produce an unprecedented volume of corn this year - almost four and a half times the entire output of Brazil and Argentina combined.

Wheat: Mar 12 CBOT Wheat closed at USD6.10 1/2, up 4 3/4 cents; Mar 12 KCBT Wheat closed at USD6.67, up 9 cents; Mar 12 MGEX Wheat closed at USD7.98 3/4, down 1/4 cent. On the week Chicago wheat was 8 1/4 cents higher, with Kansas losing 3 cents and Minneapolis down 2 1/2 cents. Weekly export sales of 584,200 MT were towards the upper end of trade estimates. Sales aren't shipments though. Actually physical exports fell short once again and have now been below the level required to hit the volume the USDA say that the US will export this season in 13 of the past 15 weeks. Informa peg US all wheat area for the 2012 harvest at 57.9 million acres, an increase of 3.5 million, or 6.4% on last year and 600,000 acres up on their December estimate.