Chicago Close - Thursday

31/01/13 -- Soycomplex: Mar 13 Soybeans closed at USD14.68 1/2, down 10 1/4 cents; May 13 Soybeans closed at USD14.59 3/4, down 7 3/4 cents; Mar 13 Soybean Meal closed at USD426.40, down USD6.40; Mar 13 Soybean Oil closed at 52.86, up 26 points. A better chance for rain in southern Brazil and Argentina over the weekend, and in the 6-10 day forecast got the market on the defensive. That was despite weekly export sales for beans of a combined 1.25 MMT, well above expectations for sales of 6-900 TMT. The US has now already exported 25.8 MMT of soybeans so far this season and has a further 7.6 MMT on the books waiting to go in 2012/13. That's more than 91% of the USDA's projections for the entire season. There has been a noticeable shift in sales from old crop to new crop however, with the latter outselling the former for the second week in a row. In addition, the USDA announced further new crop sales of 220 TMT to China under the daily reporting system. There is unconfirmed talk that China has bought 2-3 US bean cargoes for February shipment in the past day or two due to loading delays in Brazil. The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said that 99.4% of the Argentine soybean crop is planted, up 2% from a week ago. They also said that the dry Argentine weather is starting to threaten bean yields. Nevertheless, fund selling in beans was estimated at a net 6,000 contracts on the day and so the market moved lower.

Corn: Mar 13 Corn closed at USD7.40 1/2, up 1/4 cents; May 13 Corn closed at USD7.42, up 1 cents. Weekly export sales of 186,800 MT for the 2012/13 marketing year and 66,500 MT for 2013/14 were just about in line with trade expectaitons of 2-400 TMT. At least physical shipments themselves were half decent at 609,200 MT - up 65 percent from the previous week and up noticeably from the prior 4-week average. They also included 167,500 MT for China. Shipments plus outstanding sales are 13.5 MMT, 52% of the USDA target for the season. Old crop corn sales now need to be in excess of 400 TMT/week to match the USDA's estimate for 2012/13. The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said 98.7% of the Argentine corn crop is planted versus 96.4% a week ago. The Argentine markets were closed today for public holiday. Informa come out tomorrow mid-session with their latest South American crop estimates. Last month they had the Argentine corn crop at 27.0 MMT and the Brazilian corn crop at 66.2 MMT (versus 28.0 MMT and 71.0 MMT respectively from the USDA). Funds were estimated as net buyers of 1-2,000 corn contracts on the day.

Wheat: Mar 13 CBOT Wheat closed at USD7.79 1/2 down 7 1/2 cents; Mar 13 KCBT Wheat closed at USD8.37 3/4, down 3 cents; Mar 13 MGEX Wheat closed at USD8.65, down 4 cents. Weekly export sales of 293,600 MT of old crop and 94,300 MT of new crop were just about in line with trade estimates for sales of 300-550 TMT. Shipments plus outstanding sales are now 70% of the USDA target. Old crop wheat sales now need to be around 490 TMT/week to reach the USDA's target for this marketing year. Russia’s Deputy Ag Min estimated Russia's 2012/13 grain imports at 1.2 MMT, adding that they have already imported 486,000 MT of grain, mostly from Kazakhstan, between July–December 2012. There is still talk that Russia may temporarily lift the existing 5% import tax on grains. They are still bullish on their chances of a rebound in production in 2013/14 however, estimating a grain crop of 95.0 MMT, although they only predict an exportable surplus of 15.0 MMT (versus foreign sales of 14 MMT this season). Presumably that is due to a rebuilding of stocks next season as it would appear that this year's reserves will have been virtually wiped out by the time the 2013 harvest comes around.