Chicago Grains Consolidate Weekly Gains On Friday

17/10/14 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed lower on the day, but higher for the week. "The high emotions seen in the macro markets over the past couple sessions seems to have run its course and this allowed beans to get back to trading fundamentals with market settling lower ahead of wide open harvest weekend," noted Benson Quinn Commodities. The "high emotion" to which they refer concerned slumping equities, and NYMEX crude slipping below $80/barrel yesterday for the first time for the fist time since June 2012. This may be responsible for the recent uptick in spec money coming back into the grains market, although there was an element of calm in these outside markets today. It will be interesting to see if this trend resumes again next week, with the Fed stopping printing money this month, or as one commentator put it "weaning the patient off the monetary morphine" - is he about to wake up and not like what he sees? "The 7-day outlook is dry over an enormous area of the United States heartland," according to Martell Crop Projections, which should allow for good harvest progress to be made. The US soybean harvest jumped from 20% to 40% complete last week, could it have advanced another 20 points when the USDA release their latest crop progress report on Monday night? The trade doesn't seem to think so, with the average trade estimate around 52% done, but then again the trade was only looking for 30-33% complete a week ago. Informa estimated US soybean plantings in 2015 at a record high 88.512 million acres, versus a previous forecast of 87.652 million in September. That would be a rise of 5.1% compared to what the USDA says was planted in 2014. Soybean planting in Brazil remains stalled. Dryness in the leading producing state of Mato Grosso is only 9.3% complete, up less than a point on a week ago (8.4% done), and 18 points behind this time last year. Somar say however that some parts of the state could pick up rains of up to 2 inches next week. Weekly export sales for beans came in at 935,000 MT for 2014/15 versus trade expectations of 650-750 TMT, China (709,400 MT) took the lion's share as usual. Actual shipments were 1,528,700 MT - a marketing-year high - and were also mostly to China (1,165,900 MT). Today's commitment of traders report shows fund money reducing their net short in beans for the week through to Tuesday night. Nov 14 Soybeans closed at $9.51 3/4, down 14 3/4 cents; Jan 15 Soybeans closed at $9.59 3/4, down 14 1/2 cents; Dec 14 Soybean Meal closed at $330.50, down $4.10; Dec 14 Soybean Oil closed at 32.02, down 34 points.

Corn: The corn market also closed lower on the day, but higher for the week. Weekly export sales were strong at 1,922,800 MT for 2014/15, and also a marketing-year high. There were also sales of 510,500 MT for 2015/16. Mexico was a featured buyer in both crop years, although the vast majority of this was simply confirmation of a large trade announced last Friday. Exports of 901,700 MT were primarily to Japan (348,200 MT), Colombia (115,800 MT), Mexico (87,400 MT), Peru (83,900 MT) and Egypt (65,500 MT). The USDA also reported sales of 120 TMT of US corn to "unknown" today. "I would not be surprised to see the corn market shift to a sideways to lower trade as harvest expands. It may depend on the macro markets showing more stability and less volatility," said Benson Quinn's Brian Henry. Informa estimated US corn plantings for the 2015 harvest at 87.771 million acres, that's up from their previous forecast of 87.275 million, although 3.4% lower than the USDA's estimate of 90.9 million planted this year. That would be the first time that soybean acres have outstripped corn plantings in as long as I can remember. Commerzbank said that current low corn prices will lead to reduced plantings in both North and South America for the 2015 harvest. They see US prices recovering to around $4/bushel in Q3 of next year. Corn planting in Argentina is 30% complete, favoured by good weather conditions across the last 7 days, according to the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange. They see plantings down 16% this year at 3 million ha. Crop conditions are generally good, they say. Last week the USDA put the 2014 US corn harvest at 24% complete versus 17% a year ago. That was broadly in line with expectations, although it lagged the 5-year average of 43% significantly. Perhaps that will have risen to around 35% or so on Monday night it is thought. The latest commitment of traders report shows fund money adding to their net long in corn for the week through to Tuesday night. India said that it had exported only 2.5 MMT of corn for the 2013/14 marketing year that ended in September. That's down sharply from the 4.7 MMT shipped out the previous season. Strong competition from Black Sea sellers such as Ukraine, Russia, and Romania may have been a contributing factor towards the decline. Russia's 2014 corn harvest now stands at 8.3 MMT off 1.8 million hectares, or 69% of the planned area. Dec 14 Corn closed at $3.48, down 4 1/4 cents; Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.61 1/4, down 4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed mostly lower on the day, but also higher for the week, in what looks like pre-weekend consolidation. Weekly export sales of 454,000 MT for delivery in the 2014/15 marketing year, along with a further 40,000 MT for 2015/16 were deemed to be "routine" and in line with expectations. Actual exports themselves of 485,300 MT were also uninspiring, down 27 percent from the previous week and 21 percent from the prior 4-week average. Nothing to get excited about there. Informa estimated US wheat plantings for the 2015 harvest at 56.428 million acres, down from a previous forecast of 57 million and a bit below the 56.8 million that they USDA says was planted for this year's harvest. Tunisia bought 151,000 MT of optional origin durum wheat in a tender. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange said that the Argentine wheat harvest is underway, although less than 1% done on a national level. Crop conditions are generally good. They held steady with their planted area estimate at 4.1 million hectares, an increase of more than 13% compared to a year ago. The Rosario Grain Exchange said that 70% of the wheat crop in its area is in good to very good condition. Yields will not reach their full potential, but they will be above average, they said, adding that compared to last year the current climate scenario is "very favourable". Russia said that they had harvested 22.9 million hectares of wheat, or 93% of the planned area, producing a bunker weight crop of 60.5 MMT to date. Ukraine said that it had exported more than 10 MMT of grains so far this marketing year, including almost 6 MMT of wheat. The Ukraine Ministry said that grain exports could hit a record 4.3 MMT this season, up from the existing all time high 32.8 MMT shipped out in 2013/14. The new projection would include 17.9 MMT of corn, 11.7 MMT of wheat and 4.16 MMT of barley, they say. Plantings of winter grains (mostly wheat) in Russia and Ukraine are already nearing completion, with Russia nearly 98% done and Ukraine 90% finished (and 94% done on wheat). Good soaking rains arrived this week for the latter, and are in the 14 day forecast for the former. The latest commitment of traders report shows fund money getting less short in Chicago wheat, and increasing their long position in Kansas wheat for the week through to Tuesday night. Dec 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.16, down 1 cent; Dec 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $6.01 3/4, down 3 1/4 cents; Dec 14 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.70, down 6 1/2 cents.