Chicago Market Consolidates Into Weekend

22/03/13 -- Soycomplex: There was probably a bit of consolidation in the market today after two days of sharp rises. With huge uncertainty surrounding Cyprus over the weekend then a bit of book-squaring today was probably prudent. There's also a fair bit of uncertainty about what is going on between China and Brazil. Have the Chinese cancelled orders for Brazilian beans, or haven't they? Trade gossip suggests that China bought two cargoes of US beans off the PNW for April shipment yesterday. If true it's hardly a deluge of new business, but with 97% of the USDA target already on the books America doesn't really need any fresh old crop orders. Note too that 88% of this target has already been shipped. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce estimated China’s March and April bean imports both at around 4.3 MMT each. Chinatex said that the country needs 4.8 MMT of beans each month for crushing, the shortfall is likely to come from government reserves. The problem is that the majority of the 4.3 MMT that the Ministry are expecting this month and next is probably lined up to come from Brazil and loading times at Brazilian ports are still said to be around 60 days. Mato Grosso’s soybean harvest is winding down at 85.2% complete, according to IMEA. In Argentina it's only just getting going at around 5% done, according to the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange. Argentina's Ag Ministry say that 80% of the early planted beans and 74% of late planted beans are in good to excellent condition. Argentine farmers' forward soybean sales said to be are down 32% versus a year ago due to the weak peso. Informa cut their forecast for US soybean plantings this spring from their previous estimate of 78.77 million acres to 78.46 million. Farm Futures yesterday said 79.09 million, the Deutshce Bank today said 78.8 million. Plantings in 2012 were 77.2 million. Funds were judged to have been net soybean sellers of around 2-3,000 lots on the day. May 13 Soybeans closed at USD14.40 1/2, down 8 1/2 cents; Jul 13 Soybeans closed at USD14.18, down 7 1/2 cents; May 13 Soybean Meal closed at USD419.30, down USD3.60; May 13 Soybean Oil closed at 50.43, up 1 point. For the week front month beans were up 14 1/2 cents, meal up half a dollar and oil up 52 points.

Corn: The corn market was also understandably in consolidation mode after rallying to six week highs this week and closing higher for nine sessions out of eleven. The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said that 14.5% of the Argentine corn harvest is complete. They estimated the crop at 25.0 MMT, unchanged from their previous estimate. Argentina’s Ag Ministry forecast a corn crop of 25.7 MMT. The USDA estimate is 26.5 MMT. Argentina's Ag Ministry said that the Argentine corn crop is 20% harvested versus 17% a year ago. Informa estimated the US 2013 corn planted area at 97.75 million acres, down more than one and a half million from their previous estimate. Farm Futures Magazine yesterday said 97.43 million, the Deutsche Bank today said 97.2 million, which would be the same as last year. A Bloomberg survey put the average estimate at 97.34 million. The trade is now gearing up for next Thursday's planting intentions estimates from the USDA. On the same day they will also issue their Mar 1st stocks numbers, which should provide a clue as to how much domestic corn feeding has been going on across the winter. The average trade estimate for March 1st corn stocks is 4.995 billion bushels, more than a million below March 1st 2012 and the lowest figure in almost 15 years. Argentina authorised an additional 2 MMT of 2012/13 corn exports today, taking the total quota approved now to 17.0 MMT. UAE are tendering for 20 TMT of corn and 20 TMT of feed barley of optional origin for May shipment. Ukraine might be the favourites to win that order. EU corn imports in 2012/13 are running 135% ahead of year ago levels at 8.6 MMT. Weekend weather forecasts aren't favourable for early corn planting in the Mississippi Delta. "The wintry precipitation in the south central Midwest and far northern Delta will stall fieldwork and keep early spring crop planting there very slow," say MDA CropCast. On the day funds were said to have been net corn sellers of around 5-7,000 contracts. May 13 Corn closed at USD7.26 1/4, down 6 3/4 cents; Jul 13 Corn closed at USD7.08 1/2, down 8 3/4 cents. For the week front month May 13 gained 9 1/4 cents.

Wheat: Wheat futures finished modestly higher on all three exchanges. Informa cut their US all wheat planted area estimate from 56.2 million acres to 56.07 million, although that's still up 338,000 on last year. A survey by Bloomberg put the average trade estimate at 56.32 million acres. US winter wheat is set to get 3-8 inches of snow over the weekend if the forecast holds true. "Snow cover remains deep across the northern Plains and northern Midwest, and will expand into the central Plains and south central Midwest through the weekend as colder temperatures and increased precipitation continues to build across that region. The snow will help to further improve soil moisture in the central Plains once it melts, but will slow wheat emergence from dormancy," say MDA CropCast. Cash strapped Egypt, the world's largest wheat buyer, has had its credit rating cut by Moody's. Iran bought 60 TMT of German wheat and a similar volume of Australian wheat in their tender. South Korea cancelled a tender to buy 55 TMT optional origin feed wheat due to high prices. India tendered to sell 160 TMT of wheat. Despite picking up better bids in the USD305-307/tonne range in the past couple of days there hasn't been any confirmation of any Indian sales yet. Argentina's Ag Ministry estimated the 2012/13 wheat crop at 9.0 MMT versus a previous estimate of 9.4 MMT and the USDA's 11.0 MMT forecast. As well as unfavourable weather conditions this season's crop was also affected by a switch away from wheat to barley by Argentine growers. The 2012/13 Argentine barley crop is forecast at 5.05 MMT by the Ministry, up 24% from a year ago. Australian farmers are gearing up for planting under favourable conditions in the top wheat producing state of Western Australia. "Western Australia soil moisture better than average. Showers have been unusually generous in February and March. The transition from summer into fall typically is dry in Western Australia, but not this year. The top Australia wheat state usually begins fall planting in late May, but an earlier start may be coming if the rainy weather pattern continues," say Martell Crop Projections. May 13 CBOT Wheat closed at USD7.29 3/4, up 1 cent; May 13 KCBT Wheat closed at USD7.61 1/2, up 1 cent; May 13 MGEX Wheat closed at USD8.06 1/2, up 3 3/4 cents. For the week CBOT wheat added 6 3/4 cents, KCBT 10 cents and MGEX 10 1/4 cents.