Chicago Closing Comments - Friday

26/10/12 -- Soycomplex: Nov 12 Soybeans closed at USD15.61 1/4, down 2 3/4 cents; Jan 13 Soybeans closed at USD15.63 3/4, down 2 1/4 cents; Dec 12 Soybean Meal closed at USD483.40, up USD2.00; Dec 12 Soybean Oil closed at 50.96, down 49 points. Fund selling in beans was estimated at around 2,000 contracts in end of week book squaring. Nov 12 beans were 29 1/2 cents higher on the week, with Dec 12 meal up just shy of USD20 and oil shedding 62 points. Yesterday's USDA numbers showed that the US has almost 73% of projected 2012/13 soybean sales either already shipped or on contract versus around 50% normally. Planting is just getting underway in Argentina at 2% complete versus 6% normally, according to the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange. They estimate a record 48.7 million acres of beans getting sown in Argentina this year, an increase of almost 5%. Argentina's Ag Ministry estimate their 2012/13 bean crop at a record 55-60 MMT versus the previous record of 52.7 MMT set in 2009/10. We know that South America will plant record soybean acres this year. From here on in it's weather that holds the key. In Brazil "Showers across Parana and Santa Catarina this weekend and next week should further improve moisture there. Some slight improvements are also expected in drier areas of northwestern Mato Grosso do Sul later next week, although more showers will still likely be needed there to end dryness and crop stress," say MDA CropCast. The US harvest is expected to be as much as 90% complete in Monday night's USDA report.

Corn: Dec 12 Corn closed at USD7.37 3/4, down 4 1/4 cents; Mar 13 Corn closed at USD7.39 3/4, down 4 1/4 cents. Fund selling was placed at a modest 1,000 contracts on the day. For the week Dec 12 corn was 23 3/4 cents lower and Mar 13 lost almost 20 cents. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange say that 37% of the Argentine corn crop has been planted compared to 55% normally at this time, as rains cause delays. The Ukraine corn harvest is 76% complete at 14.47 MMT, and looks like ending up closer to 19 MMT than the 21 MMT that the USDA suggest. Exports may also fall short of USDA expectations. "Dry weather across the central and western Midwest this weekend and early next week will allow late harvesting of corn and soybeans to progress well," say MDA CropCast. The US corn harvest could reach 95% complete in Monday night's USDA report versus 87% a week ago, the trade estimates. US corn remains too expensive on the international stage compared to South American and Ukraine origin, but supplies of those should become tight by the New Year. In the meantime, US exports and demand from the domestic ethanol sector continue to lag USDA projections significantly.

Wheat: Dec 12 CBOT Wheat closed at USD8.63 3/4, down 9 cents; Dec 12 KCBT Wheat closed at USD9.09 1/4, down 5 cents; Dec 12 MGEX Wheat closed at USD9.40, down 5 1/4 cents. Funds were said to have been net sellers of around 2,000 wheat contracts on the day. For the week Chicago wheat was 8 3/4 cents lower, with Kansas wheat up 1 1/4 cents and Minneapolis down 2 1/2 cents. Concerns over the health of US winter wheat remains. "The forecast is very dry in the US heartland in the 7 day outlook. This is very unfavourable for hard red winter wheat. Conditions in the Southern Plains breadbasket have turned suddenly dry, following fairly good rainfall in September. Last week gusty winds stirred up loose dirt causing a dust veil across Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, visible on satellite imagery. Root establishment in winter wheat is weak because of insufficient topsoil moisture. Only 51% of hard red winter wheat had emerged compared to 82% planted by October 21. Worsening drought this month is the reason for slow seed germination," say Martell Crop Projections. "Colder temperatures across the Plains over the next few days will result in some widespread burnback to the wheat, as temperatures are expected to dip into the 20s F in many areas," say MDA CropCast.