Chicago Closing Comments - Friday

22/02/13 -- Soycomplex: It was a roller-coaster day for beans, which hit a 3 1/2 month high in overnight trade - with front month Mar 13 rallying well above the USD15/bu mark that have proven to be a difficult nut to crack - before slumping violently later in the afternoon. Weekly export sales of minus 119,500 MT old crop and only 62,000 MT of new crop were dismal against expectations of 500-900 TMT. The USDA did however throw the market a sop, reporting sales of 410 TMT of (admittedly mostly new crop) soybeans to China under the daily reporting system. Brazilian dockers at the port of Santos went on a 6-hour strike today, although there are reports that a second more nationwide stoppage planned for Tuesday has been called off. Other reports suggest that both parties have agreed a strike-free negotiation period that will last until mid-March. Nevertheless shipping delays in Brazil are said to be around 40 days at the moment, and look more likely to increase rather than decrease in the month ahead. The second day of the USDA's February Outlook Forum said that 2013/14 US soybean ending stocks will double from 125 million bushels this year to 250 million next year - a seven-year high, according to That does however assume that a) this season's ending stocks won't be tighter than the USDA currently project and b) that this season's crop does indeed turn out to be a record 3.405 billion bin-buster. Fund selling was estimated at 14,000 contracts on the day in beans. Mar 13 Soybeans closed at USD14.61 1/4, down 26 1/2 cents; May 13 Soybeans closed at USD14.43 3/4, down 26 3/4 cents; Mar 13 Soybean Meal closed at USD426.90, down USD10.40; Mar 13 Soybean Oil closed at 50.35, down 96 points. On the week front month beans were up 36 3/4 cents, meal up USD17.50 and oil down 127 points.

Corn: The USDA weekly export sales for corn of 361,800 MT old crop and 20,100 MT of new crop beat expectations of 150-300 TMT. For once that actually came in ahead of the level required to hit USDA export targets for the season. Still, spillover weakness from falling soybeans in afternoon trade dragged corn modestly lower on the day. The USDA Outlook Forum said that 2013/14 corn ending stocks will triple to 2.177 billion bushels. That does include the caveat that US corn yields will rebound to a "trendline" 163.6 bu/acre - versus 123.4 bu/acre this year - and the second highest on record. It also however is based on a US planted area of "only" 96.5 million acres, many are forecasting plantings in the region of 97-99 million, and some are over 99 million. Thailand and Malaysia both tendering for 60,000 MT of optional origin corn for April shipment. South America may be the favourite to supply that. India continue to plug away with cheap feed wheat sales into Asia and beyond, picking up business that may otherwise have gone to corn. Yesterday's data from the Energy Dept shows that corn used for ethanol production in the US last week was 83.7 million bushels against the required 87.6 million bushels required to meet this crop year’s USDA estimate of 4.5 billion bushels of demand from that sector. Fund selling was estimated at a net 1-2,000 contracts on the day. Mar 13 Corn closed at USD6.90 1/4, down 1/2 cent; May 13 Corn closed at USD6.84 1/4, down 1 1/4 cents. On the week Mar 13 corn was 8 1/2 cents lower.

Wheat: Wheat fell on the back of a perceived improvement in US winter wheat prospects following a major winter storm moving across the Plains and into the Midwest. "Very heavy snowfall has improved wheat potential in Kansas and Oklahoma, the number 1 and 2 top winter wheat states. Much of Kansas received 10-20 inches of snow, equating to 1-1.5 inch of snow melt. Oklahoma received 0.50 to 1.25 inch of moisture from mixed precipitation rain and snow. Precipitation was lighter in the Texas panhandle, the number 3 top hard red winter wheat state, with variable amounts from 0.10-0.65 inches. Wheat growing areas in northeast Colorado got 4-8 inches of snow, all very beneficial for hard red winter wheat. The storm lifted rapidly northward overnight spreading a wide band of heavy snow across Missouri, Nebraska, southern Iowa and central Illinois," said Martell Crop Projections. Weekly export sales of 699,300 MT of old crop and 56,600 MT of new crop were ahead of trade forecasts. The USDA Outlook Forum said that US wheat exports in 2013/14 will be 950 million bushels and that ending stocks will be 639 million. For 2012/13 the current USDA estimates are 1.08 billion and 691 million. Fund selling was estimated at 1-2,000 Chicago wheat contracts on the day. Mar 13 CBOT Wheat closed at USD7.15, down 6 1/4 cents; Mar 13 KCBT Wheat closed at USD7.49 3/4, down 7 1/2 cents; Mar 13 MGEX Wheat closed at USD8.02 3/4, down 3 3/4 cents. For the week Mar 13 Chicago wheat fell 27 1/4 cents, with Kansas down 27 3/4 cents and Minneapolis declining 20 3/4 cents.