Chicago Grains Stage Mini Recovery

21/12/12 -- Soycomplex: Jan 13 Soybeans closed at USD14.30 3/4, up 22 cents; Mar 13 Soybeans closed at USD14.29 1/4, up 24 1/2 cents; Jan 13 Soybean Meal closed at USD433.80, up USD6.10; Jan 13 Soybean Oil closed at 48.71, up 80 points. Despite today's rally Jan 13 beans were still down 65 1/4 cents on the week. Bargain hunting was the theme after a three day decline that tried, but failed, to break through support at USD14/bushel. Fresh news was lacking, and trade was thin in pre-holiday mode. The USDA said that a sale of 110 TMT of US soybeans to "unknown" announced earlier in the week was in fact not for export, but a domestic sale. That news, and this week's Chinese cancellations will doubtless cut next week's export sales report to much lower levels than we have witnessed in recent weeks. With net commitments already running at 83% of the USDA's target for 2012/13 a week or two of depressed holiday sales isn't going to make a great deal of difference. Chinese customs data puts Jan/Nov soybean imports at 52.5 MMT, up 11.37% from a year ago. The Argentine Ag Ministry said that soybean planting there is 73% complete versus 77% a year ago and 80% of the crop is rated good/very good.

Corn: Mar 13 Corn closed at USD7.02, up 5 1/2 cents; May 13 Corn closed at USD7.04 3/4, up 5 cents. Corn managed to claw its way back up above the USD7/bu mark in subdued low volume trade, even so Mar 13 finished the week with losses of 28 3/4 cents. Chinese customs data puts Nov corn imports at 384,213 MT, up 56.98% from a year ago. That takes their calendar year to date imports to just under 5 MMT, up sharply versus 2011. The Argentine Ministry sees the corn crop there at 67% planted versus 75% a year ago, with 91% of the crop rated good/very good. On the Argentine weather front "while some drier weather is expected today and tomorrow, rains will return to the region on Sunday, with heavy rains expected on Monday and Tuesday, which will lead to more significant planting delays and widespread wetness," say MDA CropCast. South Korea's NOFI bought 193 TMT of optional origin corn for May/Jun shipment, US corn was allowed (they'd earlier excluded it from the tender) although South American corn is the most likely origin. The commitment of traders report shows funds dumping more than 50,000 corn futures and options in the week through to Tuesday, and they've probably sold a further 20-25,000 since then.

Wheat: Mar 13 CBOT Wheat closed at USD7.92, up 1 1/2 cents; Mar 13 KCBT Wheat closed at USD8.42, down 1 3/4 cents; Mar 13 MGEX Wheat closed at USD8.81 1/2, down 2 1/4 cents. For the week as a whole Mar 13 Chicago wheat fell 22 cents. The commitment of traders report shows "managed money" selling around 17,500 Chicago wheat contracts on the week through to Tuesday night, along with more than 10,000 Kansas wheat lots. As with corn they are said to have been further net sellers since. They are now net short on Chicago wheat. Taiwan has bought 75,600 MT of US wheat overnight for Feb/Mar shipment. South Korea's NOFI bought 60 TMT of feed wheat for March shipment, possibly of Indian origin. There's widespread talk of Brazil switching their attention to US wheat as reports come in of sharply lower Argentine production combined with serious quality issues. The Argentina Ag Ministry say that the wheat harvest there is 58% complete versus 69% a year ago. Reports that they were to restrict Jan/Feb wheat exports to 2 MMT have now been superseded* by suggestions that they are to halt all wheat exports until the harvest is completed at the end of January. Chinese customs data shows them importing 117,900 MT of wheat in November, taking their Jan/Nov imports to 3.68 MMT, up sharply on a year ago.

* Looks wrong to me but it isn't. In fact this is supposed to be the English word most commonly spelt incorrectly in published documents and on the internet. So stick that where the sun doesn't shine, which is most of the UK today as it happens.