Chicago Closing Comments - Monday

23/02/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed flat to with very small losses. The trade has been waiting for some time to finally see some evidence of a switch in demand to Brazil. Whilst weekly export sales have been falling away a little, they've regularly topped trade expectations in recent weeks. Today we got news that weekly export inspections last week "only" totalled 961,749 TMT. Some would say that this is still an impressive number for this time of year. Others will point out that it is the first sub-1 MMT week since Oct 2, and is down 28% on last week. Still, the cumulative pace of exports so far this season is 41.25 MMT, up 15% on a year ago. The US has now shipped 85% of the USDA's forecast for the season versus 80% this time last year and 69% normally. "Wet weather with recurring showers has hampered Brazil’s soybean harvesting this month, said to be 20% complete as of February 19. Soybean quality is also in jeopardy according to AgRural the farm consultancy. The rain is coming too late to improve soybean yields," said Martell Crop Projections. A truck drivers strike in Brazil is also hampering the movement of soybeans to the ports. Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $9.99 1/4, unchanged; May 15 Soybeans closed at $10.01 1/2, down 3/4 of a cent; Mar 15 Soybean Meal closed at $348.30, up $0.80; Mar 15 Soybean Oil closed at 31.14, down 34 points.

Corn: The corn market closed around 6 cents lower. "The overnight session started off weaker and gravitated lower into the morning pause. Larger than expected grain inspections in corn and wheat weren’t enough to rally the grains on the day. The bulls seem to have run out of bullets for the moment," said Benson Quinn. Weekly export inspections of over 900 TMT were indeed a little above trade expectations of 700-850 TMT. Year to date inspections now total 17.29 MMT, and are around 2% up on a year ago. Total shipments so far this season are now running at 39% of the USDA's target for the marketing year versus 44% normally at this point. Brazilian rains may be delaying the harvest there a little, but should be beneficial for newly planted safrinha corn. Planting of that crop in Mato Grosso is said to be around 40% complete versus 57% normally. Argentine corn is said to be looking great. Ukraine said that they'd shipped 10.6 MMT of corn so far this season, around half of the Ag Ministry's forecast for the 2014/15 export campaign. Crude oil slipped back below $50/barrel, which didn't help corn's cause today. Mar 15 corn posted the lowest close since Feb 2. Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.78 3/4, down 6 1/2 cents; May 15 Corn closed at $3.86 3/4, down 6 1/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed mixed. Weekly export inspections of more than 500 TMT were half decent, and the largest since early October. Even so, the marketing year to date total is still down almost 30% on year ago levels. Exports are now 67% of the USDA target for the season versus 70% typically at this time. Egypt are said to have re-opened their tender for US wheat. You will recall that they've been given a special $100 million line of credit to buy US wheat, but passed up on what they were offered last week, booking EU wheat at more than $60/tonne below the cheapest US offer. A Reuters survey into Canadian spring wheat plantings came up with an average trade guess of 17.3 million acres, down slightly on 17.4 million a year ago. FranceAgriMer said that French winter wheat and barley crop conditions are better than they were a year go. The EU Commission's MARS unit said that winterkill damage in Europe had so far only been light. They did however note significant damage potential in north-eastern regions of Ukraine, and especially southern Russia. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.05 3/4, down 4 1/2 cents; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.31 1/4, down 2 cents; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.67 3/4, up 1 cent.