Chicago Closing Comments - Monday

01/10/12 -- Soycomplex: Nov 12 Soybeans closed at USD15.60 1/4, down 40 3/4 cents; Jan 13 Soybeans closed at USD15.63, down 39 3/4 cents; Oct 12 Soybean Meal closed at USD474.60, down USD12.40; Oct 12 Soybean Oil closed at 50.72, down 146 points. This was the lowest close for a front month in soybeans in three months, as funds sold an estimated 10,000 bean contracts on the day. Talk of better than expected yields is a recurring theme as the US harvest progresses. Weekly export inspections of 41.669 million bushels were impressive to say the least (almost 4 times year ago levels), with shipments three weeks into the marketing year already 68% up on this time last year and export sales looking like being around 80% of the USDA's entire 2012/13 target of 28.7 MMT when Thursday's export numbers come out. Producer selling is said to be fairly strong at these levels, as the market offers little incentive to carry into the spring at the moment, when there is a huge South American crop anticipated. After the close the USDA estimated the US soybean harvest at 41% complete, more than double the 5-year average of 19%. Good/excellent crop conditions were unchanged from last week.

Corn: Dec 12 Corn closed at USD7.56 3/4, up 1/2 cent; Mar 13 Corn closed at USD7.60, up 1/2 cent. Funds were judged to have been even in corn activity on the day. Support came from Friday's limit up move in the light of the USDA's lower than anticipated Sep 1 US stocks numbers. Bearish weakness from soybeans and wheat though tempered potential gains. Corn export inspections were a bit below trade ideas at 20.2 million bushels. Unlike soybeans, US corn exports are lagging both year ago levels and the volume required to meet the USDA's 2012/13 marketing year target. Brazil were reported to have shipped a record 3.15 MMT of corn in September, the second successive month of record exports, providing strong competition for US corn. Some large US corn users will begin importing Brazilian corn themselves this month. After the close the USDA said that the US corn harvest was 54% complete, versus 20% normally. Corn good/excellent was actually raised one point to 25%, although that was 52% a year ago. They said that 92% of the crop is mature, well above the 5-year average of 72% - at least that should minimise any potential for frost damage this year.

Wheat: Dec 12 CBOT Wheat closed at USD8.84 1/4, down 18 1/4 cents; Dec 12 KCBT Wheat closed at USD9.07, down 20 1/2 cents; Dec 12 MGEX Wheat closed at USD9.37 1/2, down 21 cents. Funds were said to have been net sellers of around 5,000 Chicago wheat contracts on the day. Russia's IKAR upped their grain production estimate for the country by 0.5 MMT to 70.5 MMT, including a 1 MMT rise in wheat output to 40 MMT. US export inspections for wheat of 24.5 million bushels were a bit better than the 22.9 million in the same week a year ago. Again, unlike soybeans, sales lag those of this time last year. It may be that the US end up exporting less but domestically feeding more than current USDA suggestions. The US winter wheat crop is 40% planted versus 43% normally at this time, said the USDA. Top producing state of Kansas is a little ahead of the 5-year average with 40% of the state's crop in the ground. MDA CropCast report rains across the southern Plains, Delta, and Southeast this past weekend, which should aid wheat plantings and emergence in those areas this week. Further north it's still a bit dry, with South Dakota plantings only 50% done versus 70% normally and Nebraska at 64% complete versus 77% on average.