Chicago Grains Closing Comments - Monday

29/12/14 -- Soycomplex: Beans and meal closed with small losses on the day. Weekly export sales for beans came in at 635,800 MT for 2014/15 and a further 1,501,600 MT for 2015/16. China took 618,200 MT of the old crop and 1.5 MMT of the new crop. Weekly shipments of almost 2.4 MMT were robust once again. Old crop commitments are now 89% of the USDA target for the season versus around 80% normally. Weekly export inspections came in at 1.42 MMT, which was maybe a bit lower than the trade expected, although this is of course for a holiday week. It looks like US exports are starting to drop off, with reports coming in of early harvest activity in Brazil's western Mato Grosso. Early yield reports are "very impressive" according to Dr Cordonnier. "Farmers are attributing the high yields to the near perfect weather and a lack of disease and insect pressure," he says. There's now some talk of the 2014/15 Brazilian soybean harvest pushing the 100 MMT mark. The USDA are currently at 94 MMT. Jan 15 Soybeans closed at $10.41 3/4, down 5 3/4 cents; Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $10.48 3/4, down 5 1/4 cents; Jan 15 Soybean Meal closed at $377.40, down $2.30; Jan 15 Soybean Oil closed at 32.79, up 33 points.

Corn: The corn market closed around a couple of cents lower. That came despite weekly export sales of an impressive 1.7 MMT, around double what the trade had been anticipating. That helped total net commitments to reach around 59% of the USDA target for the season, which is in line with average. Actual shipments came in at just under 800 TMT. Weekly export inspections were 609,613 MT, which isn't too bad for a holiday week. Ukraine's seaports shipped out an impressive 667.4 TMT of corn in the past week, which is 80% of the weekly grain export total, said APK Inform. Corn exports for the season (to Dec 24) are 6.6 MMT, say the Ukraine Ag Ministry. Russia say that they've exported 1.1 MMT of corn so far this season. Turkey tendered for 100 TMT of corn for Feb/Mar shipment, with Russia and/or Ukraine possibly the most likely favourites to win the business. The Philippines said that they'd harvested a record 7.75 MMT of corn this year, up from 7.37 MMT a year ago. That total almost covers the country's domestic consumption, which is estimated at around 8 MMT this year. Mar 15 Corn closed at $4.12 3/4, down 2 cents; May 15 Corn closed at $4.21 1/4, down 1 3/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed firmer, but off session highs. Trade reaction to the export duty news out of Russia is mixed. Benson Quinn said that it "is a bearish feature as the execution of trades in the Jan slot will not be interrupted." It remains to be seen whether January shipments do indeed run smoothly, as there has already been some suggestion that Russia will continue to use "additional administrative measures" to prevent excessive grain exports. The Russian Ag Ministry say that these are 30% up on year ago levels as of Dec 24. Weekly US export inspections of only 293,100 MT were pretty poor, indicating that US wheat is less likely to be the leading beneficiary of any disruption to supplies out of the Black Sea. There were further modest sales of 35,500 MT for 2015/16 shipment. Actual shipments of 385,100 MT were down 7 percent from the previous week and 10 percent below the prior 4-week average. Still, total old crop commitments are 72% of the USDA target for the season versus 70% normally. Talk of possible damage to winter wheat crops in southern Russia in particular continue to circulate. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $6.15 1/2, up 4 3/4 cents; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $6.47 1/2, up 3 1/4 cents; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $6.37 1/4, up 5 3/4 cents.