Chicago Closing Comments - Thursday

23/02/12 -- Soybeans: Mar 12 Soybeans closed at USD12.76 3/4, up 4 1/2 cents; Nov 12 Soybeans closed at USD12.67 3/4, up 3 3/4 cents; Mar 12 Soybean Meal closed at USD332.90, up USD1.60; Mar 12 Soybean Oil closed at 54.20, down 2 points. Fund buying continues to support beans - they were in for an estimated 5,000 contracts today. The Rosario Grain Exchange reduced their 2012 Argentine soybean crop estimate by a hefty 5 MMT from last month to 44.5 MMT. That is also well below the USDA's current figure of 48 MMT. Trade estimates for tomorrow’s weekly export sales report are around 3.5 MMT, a big number following heavy Chinese buying. Going forward the USDA pegged 2012 US soybean plantings at 75 million acres at their Outlook Forum. Tomorrow they will give us their ideas on ending stocks for 2012/13.

Corn: Mar 12 Corn closed at USD6.39 1/2, up 1 1/4 cents; Dec 12 Corn closed at USD5.58 3/4, down 5 3/4 cents. New crop months fell as the USDA confirmed that they expect US farmers to plant the largest corn acreage since the war this spring. They also said that they see demand from the ethanol sector declining in 2012/13. That should mean a sharp rebound in ending stocks for next season, they are due to reveal by exactly how much tomorrow. The USDA reported the sale of 120,000 MT of old crop corn to China, and 110,744 MT of similar to "unknown". Estimates for tomorrow’s weekly export sales report range from 800,000 to 1,250,000 MT. The Rosario Grain Exchange have reduced their 2012 Argentine corn production estimate to "no more than 20 MMT" from 21.4 MMT last month. In Brazil planting of 2nd crop corn is tearing ahead with Celeres reporting rapid growth and germination rates amongst this early planted winter corn.

Wheat: Mar 12 CBOT Wheat closed at USD6.41 3/4, down 2 3/4 cents; Mar 12 KCBT Wheat closed at USD6.80, down 5 cents; Mar 12 MGEX Wheat closed at USD8.01, down 17 1/4 cents. Funds were thought to have sold around 3,000 Chicago contracts on the day as the USDA said they expect all wheat plantings for the 2012 harvest at 58 million acres, 1.5 million above last week's number and 6.6% up on last year. Areas of the northern Plains that got flooded out last year are expected to be responsible for a large increase in spring wheat plantings this time round. Estimates for tomorrow’s weekly export sales report range from 500 to 900 thousand MT. Sales have suddenly picked up as the US finds itself well-priced on the world wheat export stage. Unconfirmed reports suggest sales to Spain and possibly Egypt have been made in the past few days.