Chicago Close - Thursday

02/02/12 -- Soybeans: Mar 12 Soybeans closed at USD12.17, up 1 3/4 cents; Nov 12 Soybeans closed at USD12.23 3/4, up 5 1/2 cents; Mar 12 Soybean Meal closed at USD323.40, up USD1.10; Mar 12 Soybean Oil closed at USD51.19, up 1 point. Funds bought an estimated 3,000 soybean contracts in a fairly lacklustre session. Soybean sales were poor at 308,400 MT for 2011/12 and 60,000 MT for delivery in 2012/13. Trade expectations were for sales of 450-750,000 MT. Year to date sales are down by almost a third on a year ago, yet the USDA only project at 15% decline at the end of 2011/12. Shipments are down by a quarter. Rain is in the forecast again for Argentine soybeans which are mostly in the flowering stage now.

Corn: Mar 12 Corn closed at USD6.43, up 1 cent; Dec 12 Corn closed at USD5.79, up 2 1/4 cents. Funds were said to have bought around 3,000 contracts on the day. Weekly export sales of 912,000 MT for 2011/12 and 63,000 MT for 2012/13 were towards the top end of trade estimates. Year to date shipments are 16.9 MMT versus a final 2011/12 number from the USDA of 41.9 MMT. Informa are due out mid-session tomorrow with their latest take on world production, ahead of the USDA's own figures a week from today.

Wheat: Mar 12 CBOT Wheat closed at USD6.62 3/4, down 11 1/2 cents; Mar 12 KCBT Wheat closed at USD7.17 3/4, down 4 3/4 cents; Mar 12 MGEX Wheat closed at USD8.36, down 3/4 cent. Chicago wheat led the complex lower for once, with funds selling an estimated 2,000 CBOT contracts on the day. The USDA reported weekly export sales of 518,900 MT of 2011/12 and 35,200 MT of 2012/13 for wheat - in line with trade forecasts. The trade is now expecting an announcement regarding Russian exports tomorrow. Bitterly cold conditions there and across Europe remain a concern.