Chicago Closing Comments - Thursday

19/01/17 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed lower. A Farm Futures Magazine survey estimated 2017 US soybean spring plantings at 90.52 million acres, up a hefty 7.12m, or 8.5% versus 83.4 million acres in 2016. The Buenos Aries Grain Exchange cut their forecast for Argentine plantings this season to 19.2m hectares, a drop of 900,000 hectares year on year. The Rosario Exchange cut its forecast for output by 1.5 MMT to 52.9 MMT. Trade estimates for tomorrow's one day delayed weekly export sales report for beans are 400,000 to 750,000 MT. Mar 17 Soybeans settled at $10.70 1/4, down 4 3/4 cents; May 17 Soybeans settled at $10.78 1/2, down 5 1/4 cents; Mar 17 Soybean Meal settled at $348.20, down $2.90; Mar 17 Soybean Oil settled at 35.44, down 14 points.

Corn: The market closed around a cent higher. The USDA reported export sales of 110,400 MT of US corn for delivery to unknown destinations during the 2016/17 marketing year. Trade ideas for tomorrow's weekly export sales are pretty strong at 1.0 to 1.5 MMT. US weekly ethanol production data topped trade expectations at an impressive 1.054 billion barrels/day, setting another new weekly record volume. Ukraine think tank UNIAN forecast the country's 2016/17 corn exports rising to 20.9 MMT this season. Worries remain over the relationship between the US and China, especially vis-a-vis corn, ahead of the inauguration of President Trump tomorrow. Whilst Chinese US corn imports are only minimal, they have been a significant importer of US DDGs and ethanol in the last 12 months. The sudden imposition of anti-dumping import duties threatens to slash this business by half, or more. Mar 17 Corn settled at $3.66 1/4, up 1 1/4 cents; May 17 Corn settled at $3.73 1/4, up 1 cent.

Wheat: The wheat market closed mixed, with Kansas down the most, Minneapolis nudging higher, and Chicago in the middle. Trade forecasts for tomorrow's weekly export sales report are between 250,000-550,000 MT. Japan bought 117,605 MT of US/Canadian wheat in their regular weekly tender. Taiwan are in the market or 93,600 MT of what will probably turn out to be US milling wheat, Morocco are reported to have bought 363,636 MT of EU soft wheat in a tender. Jordan bought 50,000 MT of hard wheat. Egypt are tendering for wheat for Feb 22 - Mar 3 shipment, having bought a mixture of mainly Russian and Romanian wheat recently. Results of that are expected Friday afternoon. The Buenos Aries Grain Exchange estimated final wheat production in Argentina this year at 15 MMT, up 39% on a year ago largely due to increased plantings. Mar 17 CBOT Wheat settled at $4.23 1/2, down 7 1/2 cents; Mar 17 KCBT Wheat settled at $4.42 1/4, down 10 cents; Mar 17 MGEX Wheat settled at $5.76 1/2, up 3 cents.

EU Grains Mostly Lower

19/01/17 -- EU grains closed mostly lower on the day.

The day ended with Jan 17 London wheat down GBP1.40/tonne at GBP147.00/tonne, Mar 17 Paris wheat was down EUR0.25/tonne at EUR169.50/tonne, Mar 17 Paris corn was unchanged at EUR169.50/tonne and Feb 17 Paris rapeseed rose EUR2.50/tonne to EUR420.75/tonne.

The latest customs data from Brussels shows EU soft wheat exports running 3% lower than year ago levels at 13.6 MMT. A continuation of this slowdown is expected in the second half of the season, with total final all wheat exports likely to be in the region of 25.5 MMT versus 35.7 MMT a year ago, for a drop of 28.6% say the USDA.

French analysts Strategie Grains forecast next season's EU 2017/18 soft wheat exports at 26.5 MMT in it's first forecast of the year, flagging a dent in production hopes after this month's cold snap, note Agrimoney. (The EU Commission have this season's soft wheat only exports at 23 MMT versus an average of 32.0 MMT/year in the three seasons to 2015/16).

"Strategie Grains also factored in an EU soft wheat harvest of 143.8 MMT this year, a downgrade of 1.2 MMT on the previous estimate. The downgraded figure still represents a sharp recovery, of 7.9 MMT, on the 2016 result," Agrimoney however note.

On the international tender front, Jordan bought 50,000 MT of hard wheat in a tender for 100,000 MT, and are tendering for 50,0000 MT of feed barley. Taiwan are in the market for 93,600 MT of what will probably turn out to be US milling wheat, Morocco are reported to have bought 363,636 MT of EU soft wheat in a tender.

Egypt's GASC are back in the market today tendering for wheat for Feb 22 - Mar 3 shipment, having bought a mixture of Russian and Romanian wheat recently. Results of that are expected Friday afternoon.

A Ukraine think tank (UNIAN) estimated 2016/17 grain exports at a record 43.7 MMT this season, including 20.9 MMT of corn 16.5 MMT of wheat and 5.3 MMT of barley. Last season's grain export record was 39.4 MMT.

Chicago Grains Market - Midday Update

18/01/17 -- Around midday London time Chicago grains trade with the soycomplex mostly lower, consolidating from yesterday's gains, with beans down 4-6 cents, meal $3-4 weaker and wheat and corn around unchanged.

News that Morocco bought almost 360 TMT of US soft wheat under a preferential tariff quota agreement was welcomed by the US wheat market yesterday. Weekly export inspections, whilst not exactly brilliant at 344,436 MT, were still more than 31% on the previous week. Weekly export inspections for beans were a respectable 1.4 MMT, which those for corn were 888 TMT.

Ahead of Friday's Trump inauguration, China recently raising its import tariffs on DDGs means that there has been talk of a similar import tariff move on ethanol, which is also mostly sourced from the US. China are of course desperately seeking ways to encourage the off take of their own domestic corn stockpile is any which way, shape or form.

There's talk of private estimates for Argentine soybean production coming in at only 51-53 MMT versus the current 57 MMT from the USDA, mostly due to unsown acreage due to flooding.

EU Markets Nervous Ahead Of Trump Inaugration

18/01/17 -- EU grains trade mixed, but mostly lower around midday Wednesday. Markets are a little nervous ahead of the inauguration of Donald Trump this Friday. "Important changes in interest rates and on currencies are not to be ruled out in the next few weeks," said Agritel.

May 17 London wheat trades GBP0.50/tonne higher at GBP150.25/tonne, May 17 Paris wheat is down EUR0.25/tonne to EUR172.75/tonne, Mar 17 Paris corn is also down EUR0.25/tonne at EUR168.75/tonne and Feb 17 Paris rapeseed trades EUR1.00/tonne lower at EUR417.75/tonne.

London wheat is boosted once again by a lower sterling which trades at 1.23 against the US dollar and a little over 1.15 versus the euro.

Any possible damage to crops in eastern Europe, southern Russia and Ukraine due to the recent cold spell is being largely played down/ignored by the market for the time being.

Ukraine says that winter grains were sown on 7.2 million ha, and place emergence at 95% on 6.8 million ha of that. Of the emerged area 83% of the crops are said to be in in good/satisfactory condition and 17% weak/thinned.

Customs data shows Russian seaports exporting more than 456 TMT of grains last week, including 234 TMT of wheat.

Morocco are said to have bought a significant volume of US wheat under a preferential duty agreement between the two countries. They are now said to be tendering for EU wheat also.