Chicago Close - Thursday

18/04/13 -- Soycomplex: Weekly export sales of 339,400 MT of old crop and 227,400 MT of new crop were in line with trade expectations of a combined 400-700 TMT. Old crop sales are now 99.7% of the USDA target for the season. The USDA also reported the sale of 252 TMT of new crop soybean sales to China. Argentine farmers are said to be reluctant sellers of new crop beans due to inflation concerns and the weak peso. MDA CropCast cut their world 2013/14 oilseeds production forecast to 457.74 MMT, down 1.85 MMT from last week due to dryness in China rapeseed areas as well as expected stress in western belt areas of the US this summer. Argentine truckers are said to be ready to strike on April 22nd. Brazilian dock workers called off a planned strike for today at the last minute. The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said bird flu could spread between humans but that there is no reason to fear a widespread pandemic. Shanghai analysts JC Intelligence said that China’s Q2 poultry feed demand may fall 20% due to bird flu. Rabobank cut their Argentine soybean production forecast by 1 MMT to 49 MMT. They estimated the 2013 US soybean crop at 3.269 billion bushels (89 MMT), up 8.4% on last year. Yields were forecast at an average 42.5 bu/acre versus 39.6 bu/acre in 2012. Funds were estimated as net buyers of around 3-5,000 soybean contracts on the day. May 13 Soybeans closed at USD14.30 1/2, up 8 1/4 cents; Jul 13 Soybeans closed at USD13.90, up 10 cents; May 13 Soybean Meal closed at USD411.00, up USD3.70; May 13 Soybean Oil closed at 49.66, up 27 points.

Corn: Weekly export sales of 400,300 MT of old crop and 16,900 MT of new crop were in line with expectations for sales of a combined 250-500 TMT. Rabobank forecast the US corn crop in 2013/14 at a record 13.941 billion bushels versus 10.782 billion in 2012/13. Yields were estimated at 157.0 bu/acre vs 123.4 bu/acre last year. They see world corn production rising 13.6% from 838 MMT in 2012/13 to 952 MMT next season, with 2013/14 world ending stocks up from 111 MMT to 145 MMT. Strategie Grains forecast EU-28 corn production potential in 2013/14 up 0.5 MMT from last month to 66.5 MMT, an increase of 18% on last year. MDA CropCast cut their preliminary 2013/14 US corn production estimate to 13.302 billion bushels, down 122 million bushels from last week "due to expected stress in western belt areas this summer." Meanwhile heavy rainfall and unseasonable cold are seen as potential pitfalls for US corn in 2013. "Serious planting delays are anticipated from very wet field conditions following strong thunderstorms and heavy rainfall this week. The morning radar shows a wave of strong showers from Missouri northeast to northern Illinois into Michigan. This band of heavy rain is moving slowly east. This rain comes on the heels of heavy rainfall last week in the eastern Midwest of 2-4 inches. Surplus soil moisture east of the Mississippi River ranged from 25-50% prior to this heavy rain. Widespread flooding is anticipated in corn fields with saturated field conditions," say Martell Crop Projections. China’s Ag Ministry said wet weather in China’s corn belt is delaying planting by up to 10 days. Funds were judges as being net sellers of around 12-13,000 corn contracts on the day. May 13 Corn closed at USD6.44 1/2, down 16 cents; Jul 13 Corn closed at USD6.29 3/4, down 11 1/2 cents.

Wheat: Wheat closed around unchanged, despite robust weekly export sales, weighed down by falling corn. Export sales of 552,100 MT of old crop and new crop sales of 1.123 MMT combined gave us the largest weekly total since September 2007. The numbers included the 840,000 MT of new crop SRW wheat sold to China that had previously been reported under the daily reporting system. For old crop, sales needed each week to hit the USDA estimate were only 265,900 MT. MDA CropCast said that their estimate for 2013/14 world wheat production is 676.2 MMT, down 8.4 MMT from last week due to acreage reductions and expected dryness in the US Plains. Rabobank cut their US 2013/14 wheat crop estimate to 2.05 billion bushels versus 2.269 billion in 2012/13. Yields are forecast at 43.9 bu/acre vs 46.3 bu/acre last year. "Another hard freeze developed overnight in the Great Plains, the 3rd time in a month that temperatures fell to the mid-upper 20s F. Oklahoma is most at risk for potential freeze damage, due to the advanced stage of jointing - 78% on April 14. Preliminary indications are for some level of damage in 69% of small grains, the USDA reported. Kansas wheat jointing was only 35%, so is less susceptible to damage. Drought is a big worry in hard red winter wheat. Topsoil moisture has declined significantly in April, now 35-40% short in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, the top 3 wheat states," said Martell Crop Projections. Strategie Grains cut their EU-28 (including Croatia) soft wheat crop estimate to 131.1 MMT versus previous estimate of 131.6 MMT. Ag Canada estimated all wheat output there at 28.4 MMT, unchanged from their previous estimate and up from 27.205 MMT last year. Russia’s statistics office said Russia’s April 1st grain stocks were at 18.0 MMT, down 30.2% from a year ago. May 13 CBOT Wheat closed at USD7.02 3/4, down 1 cent; May 13 KCBT Wheat closed at USD7.43 3/4, up 1 3/4 cents; May 13 MGEX Wheat closed at USD8.17 3/4, up 9 1/2 cents.