Chicago Grain End Higher, But Wheat Well Off Overnight Highs

18/12/14 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed higher. Weekly export sales of more than 1 MMT were better than expected, even if 350 TMT of that total was for 2015/16 shipment. Old crop sales of 696,000 MT included 402,400 MT to China. Actual shipments were nearly 1.9 MMT, taking total commitments so far this season to 86% of the USDA's target for the season versus 79% normally. The USDA released their baseline projections, putting the US 2015 soybean planted area at 84 million acres versus private estimates of around 88 million. The Argentine Ag Ministry forecast the 2014/15 soybean planted area at 20.2 million hectares, up 2.2% on last year. They say that Argentine farmers have sold 73% of their old crop beans versus 81% a year ago, and 4.4% of their new crop against 4.8% a year ago. Jan 15 Soybeans closed at $10.35, up 8 cents; Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $10.43 1/4, up 8 cents; Jan 15 Soybean Meal closed at $365.30, up $6.00; Jan 15 Soybean Oil closed at 31.89, up 12 points.

Corn: The corn market closed around 2-3 cents firmer. Weekly export sales of 693,500 MT for 2014/15 and 5,000 MT for 2015/16 were in line with expectations. Actual shipments of 754,000 MT were up 11 percent from the previous week and 24 percent above the prior 4-week average. Total commitments so far this season are 55% of the USDA forecast versus 56% normally. The USDA's baseline projections for next year are using a corn planted area figure of 88 million acres. The Argentine Ag Ministry forecast corn plantings this year down almost 10% at 5.5 million hectares. They said that Argentine growers have now got 91.6% of their old crop corn sold versus 84.3% a year ago. New crop sales are at 16.2% versus 6.4% a year ago. Strategie Grains forecast the EU 28 corn crop in 2015 at 67.6 MMT, a 9% drop on this year. France, Romania and Hungary will see a combined drop of 4 MMT in output, they said. Mar 15 Corn closed at $4.11, up 2 3/4 cents; May 15 Corn closed at $4.19 1/2, up 3 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed higher, although well off the overnight session highs. Weekly export sales of 476,300 MT for 2014/15 and 33,200 MT for 2015/16 were in line with trade ideas. The Russian rouble appears to have stabilised, at least for now. Reports out of there still suggest problems in obtaining the necessary phytosanitary certificates for vessels to sail."At times, the market feels like it is ready to roll over. However, it doesn’t feel like the speculative seller trusts the wheat market or what the next move in Russia could be," said Benson Quinn Commodities. The Argentine Ag Ministry forecast their 2014/15 wheat crop at 13.2 MMT, a 43.5% increase on last year. Very acceptable yields have been obtained so far, they said. They estimated the crop at 60% harvested. Strategie Grains estimated the EU 28 soft wheat crop at 140.2 MMT next year, with all wheat production at 148.1 MMT. The USDA baseline projection for US wheat plantings for the 2015 harvest is 56 million acres. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $6.55 1/4, up 6 3/4 cents; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $6.83 3/4, up 2 1/4 cents; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $6.61, up 1 1/4 cents.