Chicago Grains Treading Water

05/04/16 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed lower, and appear to feel comfortable in the $8.50 to $9.25 region until the US gets this year's crop in the ground. Demand is certainly switching to South America - there's plenty of evidence in that, although that's not unusual either for the time of year. Fund money has set itself out to be long beans/oil and short meal. Weakness in Malaysian Palm Oil futures today had them unwinding some of those spreads, hence meal ending in mildly positive territory. May 16 Soybeans settled at $9.04 3/4, down 8 3/4 cents; Jul 16 Soybeans settled at $9.12 3/4, down 8 3/4 cents; May 16 Soybean Meal settled at $268.70, up $0.50; May 16 Soybean Oil settled at 33.99, down 70 points.

Corn: The corn market closed a couple of cents firmer, continuing to rebound a little from the sharp sell-off seen following the USDA's bearish planting intentions numbers released Thursday. Dry weather in Brazil is helping advance harvest progress for full season corn, but is creating some concern for second crop corn stress. These days the so called safrinha, or second corn crop, contributes a far larger volume to Brazil's overall annual corn supply than full season corn. Safras says that the Brazilian full season corn crop is 76% harvested, versus 60% at this time last year. The US Energy Dept release their weekly ethanol production numbers tomorrow. Last week they had output at 992,000 barrels per day, down 3,000 bpd from the previous week. May 16 Corn settled at $3.56 3/4, up 2 1/4 cents; Jul 16 Corn settled at $3.60, up 2 1/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed a touch easier across the three exchanges. After the close the USDA gave us the first weekly crop ratings of the year, estimating US all wheat at 59% good to excellent. That's 4 points ahead of the average trade guess and versus only 44% this time a year ago. The five-year average for this time is said to be only 42%. Washington (87% G/E) is the top rated, followed by Ohio and California (85%). The top producing state of Kansas is 55% G/E. Heat/dryness worries in Russia and Ukraine are ringing a few alarm bells. Temperatures and rainfall there are set to be well out of sync with normal for the next couple of weeks. Ethiopia were said to have bought 499,536 MT of optional wheat, most likely from the Black Sea region, in a tender. Tunisia are in for 42,000 MT of optional durum wheat. Jul 16 CBOT Wheat settled at $4.80 3/4, down 1/2 cent; Jul 16 KCBT Wheat settled at $4.85, down 1 1/2 cents; Jul 16 MGEX Wheat settled at $5.33 1/4, down 4 3/4 cents.