Chicago Closing Comments - Thursday

12/02/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed higher, helped by strong weekly export sales which defied expectations of a slump to around 250-450,000 MT by coming in at 745,400 MT for 2014/15. These were up 52 percent from the previous week and 29 percent above the prior 4-week average. China took 603,300 MT of that total. Exports of 1.6 MMT were also robust. The US has now exported more than 38 MMT of soybeans this season, with a further 8 MMT of outstanding sales. That makes more than 46 MMT of export commitments versus a USDA projection for the season of 48.7 MMT, meaning that the US are already 95% sold on beans for 2014/15. That is unless some of these outstanding sales don't get shipped or are cancelled, but few will be betting big money on that. MDA CropCast raise their view on Argentina's soybean crop by 1.35 MMT to 57.34 MMT. They were unchanged on Brazil at 93.49 MMT. Celeres estimated Brazil’s 2014/15 soybean crop at 91.0 MMT. Conab trimmed their Brazilian soybean crop estimate to 94.6 MMT versus a previous estimate of 95.9 MMT. They now see 2014/15 Brazilian soybean exports estimated at 47.8 MMT versus a previous estimate of 49.6 MMT. The USDA are at 46 MMT. The Paraguayan Oilseed Crushers Association estimated the nation's 2014/15 soybean crop at 7.9-8.0 MMT versus a USDA estimate of 8.5 MMT. Sinograin estimated China’s soybean crop at 11.65 MMT, and estimated consumption this season at 83.5 MMT, up 4.5 MMT from a year ago. They see China’s 2014/15 bean imports at 71.5 MMT versus 74 MMT from the USDA. Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $9.83 3/4, up 6 cents; May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.86 3/4, up 6 cents; Mar 15 Soybean Meal closed at $330.50, up $0.90; Mar 15 Soybean Oil closed at 32.01, up 26 points.

Corn: The corn market closed around 2-3 cents lower. Crude oil prices were higher, although ethanol values were lower. US stocks of the latter continue to run at very high levels. Weekly export sales topped 1 MMT, up 19 percent from the previous week, but down 17 percent from the prior 4-week average. There were also sales of 117,700 MT for 2015/16 split between Mexico and Japan. Total net commitments on corn are now running at 75% of the USDA forecast for the season versus 73% this time last year and 70% for the 5-year average. MDA CropCast increased their forecast for the 2014/15 Ukraine corn crop by 1.2 MMT to 28.4 MMT. They also increased Argentina by 1.4 MMT to 23.1 MMT, and were unchanged on Brazil at 75.7 MMT. Conab estimated the Brazilian corn crop at 78.4 MMT versus a previous estimate of 79.1 MMT. Celeres estimated Brazil’s corn crop at 76.7 MMT. The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange estimated Argentina’ s 2014/15 corn crop at 22.5 MMT. South Korea's KOCOPIA bought 53,000 MT of optional origin corn for June shipment. South Korea's KFA bought 60,000 MT of optional origin corn for August shipment. The US is in for another blast of Arctic air. "A cold wave is underway this morning as a polar air mass descends into the United States. Early morning temperatures in Saskatchewan and Manitoba ranged from -20 F to -25 F with one of the coldest air masses this winter. North Dakota temperatures fell to -10 to -15 F as the large polar air mass spreads southward. Temperatures in the Midwest are expected to plummet the next several days. The GFS model predicts much colder than normal weather 15 F-22 F below average. Bitterly cold temperatures are developing with just a scanty snow cover for insulation. Some Midwest areas have no snow at all, western Iowa and southwest Minnesota, for example. The deepest snow with the best insulating properties is concentrated in the Upper Midwest," said Martell Crop Projections. Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.83, down 2 3/4 cents; May 15 Corn closed at $3.91, down 2 3/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed lower on all three exchanges. Weekly export sales of 409,300 MT for delivery in the 2014/15 marketing year were up 3 percent from the previous week, but down 3 percent from the prior 4-week average. Exports themselves were less than spectacular at 373,800 MT, down 15 percent from the previous week. A labour dispute may be slowing shipments out of the West Coast it is reported. Monday is Washington's birthday, so some companies will be aiming to save themselves the increased premium that they would have to dockers to get them to work over the holiday weekend. On the weather front "Hard red winter wheat in the Great Plains has been subject to volatile winter temperatures abnormally warm the last half of January, but sharply colder in February. Wheat has lost some of its hardiness. Sharply colder weather in the Great Plains may pose a threat to less hardy wheat," said Martell Crop Projections. "On the positive side, generous rainfall has developed in Kansas recently, improving soil moisture. Wheat prospects have increased also in Texas, Nebraska and Colorado with favourable precipitation the past 14 days. Oklahoma is still dry, however, the second leading US bread wheat state. Just scanty precipitation is expected in the Great Plains the next week," they added. The Egyptian delegation to Russia to ask them to reconsider their position on wheat export duties reportedly met with a polite no. Strategie Grains hiked their forecast for EU-28 2014/15 soft wheat exports by 3.0 MMT to a record 32.5 MMT. They also upped their forecast for exports in 2015/16 by 2 MMT to 29.0 MMT. Japan bought 129,395 MT of food wheat for April shipment split between US, Canadian and Australian origin. South Korea's KFA cancelled a tender for 30,000 MT of optional origin feed wheat for May shipment. Jordan re-tendered for 100,000 MT of feed barley optional origin for Aug-Sept shipment. Morocco tendered for 360,000 MT of EU soft wheat and 45,000 MT of EU durum wheat for May shipment. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.21 1/4, down 4 1/2 cents; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.54, down 5 1/4 cents; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.74 1/4, down 1 3/4 cents.