Chicago Closing Comments - Monday

03/12/12 -- Soycomplex: Jan 13 Soybeans closed at USD14.53 3/4, up 15 cents; Mar 13 Soybeans closed at USD14.48 1/4, up 15 3/4 cents; Jan 13 Soybean Meal closed at USD439.40, up USD4.50; Jan 13 Soybean Oil closed at 50.18, up 44 points. Weekly export inspections were pretty decent at 51 million bushels considering that they included the post-Thanksgiving period, although they fell short of traders' expectations of 52-62 million. Funds were said to have been net buyers of around 3,000 soybean contracts on the day. China appears to be buying more soybeans than anticipated due to the recent break in price. CNGOIC estimated China’s November bean imports at 5.2 MMT, these were expected only to be around 3.5 MMT a couple of months ago. They also estimated China's 2012 soybean crop at 12.8 MMT, down 11.6% from 2011. Safras e Mercados said Brazilian bean planting is complete versus 76% a week ago and 93% a year ago. The Argentine Ag Ministry said Argentina’s soybean planting is 58% complete, up 11 points from a week ago but 8 points down versus 66% a year ago. "Northern soybean farms in Argentina benefited from a stretch of drier weather in November, allowing soybean planting to make progress, but Buenos Aires and La Pampa have remained too wet. Another wave of strong showers hit southern Argentina last week. The forecast also continues very wet in the northern two-thirds of the grain belt. Santa Fe, Cordoba and northern Buenos Aires would receive 3-6 inches of rain this week, if the forecast verifies as a trough of low pressure is expected to stall over the central grain belt," say Martell Crop Projections.

Corn: Dec 12 Corn closed at USD7.49, up 1 cent; Mar 13 Corn closed at USD7.54 3/4, up 2 cents. Weekly export inspections of only 9.6 million bushels were very poor and 75% below the same week a year ago. Weekly inspections need to average in excess of 24 million bushels to reach the USDA's projected target for full season exports. Ukraine's corn crop is now 99% harvested at 19.58 MMT in bunker weight with yields down 25% on last year. Argentina Ag Ministry said that Argentina’s corn planting is 63% complete versus 59% a week ago and 73% a year ago. More wet weather in the forecast should continue to frustrate farmer's sowing ambitions. The Argentine Ministry estimated the 2012/13 corn area at 4.7 million hectares, down almost 0.3 million on their previous estimate of 4.97 million. "In South Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul has become very dry a key corn and soybean state. In the recent month a 3-5 inch moisture deficit has developed in the northwest and northeast growing areas. Parana has been on the "watch" list for several weeks due to persistent dryness. Strong thunderstorms and heavy rainfall developed last week providing welcome relief to developing crops. The subsoil drought remains worrisome, however, exceeding 6-8 inches in southern areas. Temperatures in Brazil's farm belt have been persistently hot for over 2 weeks, making moisture stress worse," say Martell Crop Projections.

Wheat: Dec 12 CBOT Wheat closed at USD8.42, down 2 3/4 cents; Dec 12 KCBT Wheat closed at USD8.92 3/4, down 4 3/4 cents; Dec 12 MGEX Wheat closed at USD9.12 1/2, down 6 cents. Early strength was tied to Egypt's weekend tender going mostly the way of US wheat. Gains were reversed later in the session however as the market slipped into negative territory on reports of a wetter outlook ahead for the US Plains later in the week. Not that forecasters are calling for drought-busting rains. "No rainfall developed once again last week in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, perpetuating severe drought. The last time any rainfall of significance occurred was October 13. Hard red winter wheat conditions reached a record low 22% good-excellent, 45% fair and 33% poor-very poor in the November 25 report. Unseasonable warmth has made the conditions worse, last week reaching the mid-upper 70s F in Oklahoma and Texas. The weather pattern may be changing with a strengthening southern jet stream. If the sub-tropical jet stream develops, as suggesting, it would produce better odds for precipitation in Colorado, Nebraska and northern Kansas. The Southwest United States would likely miss out on rainfall in West Texas, southwest Kansas and Oklahoma," say Martell Crop Projections. The Argentine Ag Ministry said that the wheat harvest there is 28% complete, hampered by rain.