Chicago Closing Comments - Friday

27/02/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed higher on the day and higher for the week, with uncertainty over the Brazilian truckers strike continuing to provide support. The Brazilian port of Paranagua are only said have sufficient soybean stocks to carry on loading ships until Mar 3. There's also talk of pig and poultry units running out of feed. Based on yesterday's figures, total US soybean commitments are now 97% of the USDA target for the season, so any unexpected switch back in demand to US origin material will be perceived as being bullish, eating into 2014/15 ending stocks. Still, the soybeans are out there if you can get to them it would seem, with Brazil’s Agroconsult estimated the country's 2015 soybean crop at 94.7 MMT, up 828,000 MT from previously. Harvesting in Brazil's top state of Mato Grosso is said to be 53.6% complete versus 58.5% a year ago. Parana's crop is 28% harvested, up only 4 points on a week ago. Argentina's Ag Ministry estimated their 2015 soybean harvest at a record 58 MMT versus 53.4 MMT a year ago. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange forecast the Argentine crop at 57 MMT. Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $10.30 3/4, up 6 3/4 cents; May 15 Soybeans closed at $10.31 3/4, up 5 1/4 cents; Mar 15 Soybean Meal closed at $353.70, down $0.90; Mar 15 Soybean Oil closed at 32.80, up 96 points. For the week that puts front month beans up 31 1/2 cents, with meal up $6.20 and oil gaining 132 points.

Corn: The corn market closed higher on the day, but little changed for the week."The Brazilian trucker strike continues to be the trade’s mains focus. Yesterday’s reports of an agreement between the Brazilian government and the trucking union now seem slightly premature," said Benson Quinn. The USDA announced 140,000 MT of US corn sold to Saudi Arabia for 2014/15 shipment under the daily reporting system. They also reported 120,000 MT of US sorghum sold to China, split a cargo each for 2014/15 and 2015/16. Brazil’s Agroconsult estimated the country's 2015 first corn crop at 29.0 MMT, with production of the second corn crop at 50.0 MMT. Argentina's Ag Ministry forecast their corn crop at 30 MMT, down 3 MMT from last year. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange estimated the Argentine crop much lower at 22.5 MMT. Harvesting of that is in its fledgling stage at 1.7% complete. Rains in the centre of the country are delaying the harvesting of corn that is ready to combine, they said. There's talk of reduced corn plantings in Ukraine and Russia this year due to the cost of producing an "input hungry" crop at a time when the local currencies have been under severe pressure and costs have risen substantially in domestic terms compared with 12 months ago. Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.84 1/2, up 4 1/2 cents; May 15 Corn closed at $3.93 1/4, up 4 3/4 cents. For the week Mar 15 corn was 3/4 of a cent lower.

Wheat: The wheat market closed with generally decent gains on the day, but was mixed for a week in which Minneapolis wheat in particular lost some ground. Some of today's strength may have been tied to month end book squaring and profit-taking. There's talk of possible weekend frost damage to wheat unprotected by snow on the Southern Plains, although losses aren't expected to be significant. There's also continued trade chatter of possible winterkill damage to poorly established winter wheat in Russia and Ukraine. The trade is also mulling widespread reports of likely difficulties in funding the spring planting campaign in both countries too. Russia said that it had exported 24.2 MT of grains so far this season, including 18.8 MMT of wheat, and that exports for the full marketing year might reach 28.5 MMT and 20 MMT respectively. Russia exported 869,000 MT of grains Feb 1-25, and may finish the month shipping around 1 MMT, said Rusagrotrans. Wheat exports so far this month (to Feb 25) were only 322,000 MT, a drop of more than half compared to the same period in 2014. There's some talk of the Russian wheat export duty being tinkered with in the not too distant future. The Russian Ag Ministry estimated Feb 1 grain stocks at 29.2 MMT, up 3.9 MMT, or 15.4% higher than a year ago. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.17 1/2, up 14 1/4 cents; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.34 1/2, up 7 1/4 cents; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.56, up 4 3/4 cents. For the week Chicago wheat was up 7 1/4 cents, with Kansas 1 1/4 higher and Minneapolis 10 3/4 cents lower.