Chicago Closing Comments - New Year's Eve

31/12/12 -- Soycomplex: Jan 13 soybeans closed 5 1/4 cents lower at USD14.18 3/4; Mar 13 beans finished 8 1/2 cents lower at USD14.09 1/2; Jan 13 soybean meal ended USD7.10 lower at USD420.60; Jan 13 soybean oil closed 22 points higher at 49.16. For the month of December front month beans were 20 cents lower, with meal down USD21.80 and oil down 25 points. For the year beans closed with gains of USD2.20 (+18%), meal added USD111.20 (+36%) whilst oil slumped 293 points (-6%). The USDA announced the sale of 140 TMT of soybeans along with 30 TMT of soyoil, both for 2012/13 delivery to "unknown" destinations. This was on top of the 165 TMT of soybeans sold to China and 30 TMT of soyoil sold to "unknown" announced on Friday. Weekly export inspections for soybeans came in at 967 TMT versus 1.24 MMT a week ago. Year to date inspections at just over 21 MMT are up 36% on last year. South American weather is little changed, with pockets of dryness in northern Brazil a concern, although central and southern areas are getting favourable rains. Argentina got rain over the weekend, but "dry weather is expected in most areas for the rest of the week, which should favour late soybean planting soybeans and ease wetness," according to MDA CropCast.

Corn: Mar 13 corn closed 4 1/2 cents higher at USD6.98 1/4; May 13 corn closed 3 1/4 cents firmer at USD7.00 1/4. For the whole of December that puts front month corn a quarter of a cent shy of 50 cents lower. For the whole of 2012 corn was up 51 3/4 cents, or +8%. There was some optimism late in the day that a deal would get done to avoid the "fiscal cliff" which added a bit of support to corn. Even so, weekly export inspections were pretty dire at just over 200 TMT, even for a holiday week. Year to date inspections are down 53% on last year at only 6.5 MMT. "More unwanted rain occurred last week in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where persistent heavy rains have hindered corn planting," say Martell Crop Projections. "The province received over 1 inch of rainfall, but up to 3 inches locally with strong thunderstorms. December rainfall has been two to three times normal," they add. Funds were said to have been modest net buyers of around 2,000 corn contracts on the day. Last week's commitment of traders report showed them having cut their net length to the smallest in almost six months during December.

Wheat: Mar 13 Chigaco wheat closed 3/4 of a cent lower at USD7.78; Mar 13 Kansas wheat ended 5 cents higher at USD8.31 and Mar 13 Minneapolis wheat fell 2 1/4 cents to 865 1/2. For the month of December Chicago wheat was 66 3/4 cents lower, but over 125 cents higher, +19%, on the year. Weekly export inspections were poor at 211 TMT, and little more than half of last week's total. Year to date inspections are down almost 14% on year ago levels at just over 14 MMT. It is anticipated that exports will pick up in the first half of 2013. Last week's export sales total was the best in almost two years. Iraq are tendering for wheat, with the results expected around the middle of the month, the trade will be looking to see how competitively US wheat is offered. Last week's commitment of traders report shows spec money holding a large short in Chicago wheat, the largest in fact for seven months, which may see them buying on any further dips. It also leaves the market vulnerable to an upside correction. "Snow across the central Plains and south central Midwest will increase snow cover, improving protection for the wheat crop from winterkill. The snow will also slightly improve soil moisture across the central Plains once it melts, but much more precipitation will be needed to put a significant dent in the extreme drought," note MDA CropCast.