April 17, 2015
Corn and soybeans closed higher on Friday and higher for the week and fended off pressure from a sharply lower stock market and higher dollar.
Wheat futures were narrowly mixed as forecasts show widespread beneficial showers in much of Kansas and Oklahoma on Friday and Saturday.
The action in corn and soybeans appeared to be end-of-the-week positioning. There was little fresh crop news to guide trading. Rains continue in the Midwest where spring planting should gain traction in the weeks ahead. Argentina's corn and soybean harvests are going well and ahead of last year's paces.
The stock market had much of the day's fireworks, down about 320 points in afternoon trading, following some disappointing earnings from Honeywell and American Express and news that China took steps to slow gains in its stock market.
Corn futures closed higher to post their first straight weekly gain in three weeks.
Forecasts keep rain in the Midwest through next week, which could raise some concerns about planting delays. USDA will update corn planting progress late on Monday, but not soybeans. Farm Futures expects planting at 12% or more on Monday. A week ago corn was 2% planted.
The latest National Weather Service's 6- to 10-day outlook shows a return to more normal rainfall amounts in that period. Despite the slow start to corn planting, concerns should be light. Modern equipment can quickly plant a vast area. Plus the ample moisture should get the crop off to a quick start once planted.
Cash corn bids remain firm as slow farmer selling has exporters and processors anxious to keep grain moving.
CBOT estimated Friday's futures volume at 289,150 compared with Thursday's actual of 251,216.
May corn closed up 3-1/2 cents at $3.79-3/4 per bushel and July rose 3-1/2 to $3.86-3/4. New-crop December was up 3 at $4.03-1/4.
What to Look For – Rain keeps falling in the Midwest. While farmers are anxious to get in the fields. there is still time to plant. Watch forecasts for breaks in the weather. USDA will update corn planting progress Monday afternoon. Last week, it reported 2% planted, versus 3% a year earlier and the 5% average.
Soybeans closed higher for the day for their first weekly gain in three weeks on end-of-the-week positioning.
Trading was moderate, with Friday's estimated volume up slightly from Thursday's actual volume.
Technically, May remains under key moving averages, but briefly topped the 20-day's $9.71 level before falling back. The price pattern was similar for new-crop November, which also briefly topped its 20-day near $9.57.
In numbers released on Friday, Argentina's soybean harvest is 33% done and the corn harvest is at 21%. Those numbers are ahead of last year's 22% for soybeans and 16% for corn. The Rosario Grain Exchange early in the week raised Argentina's estimated crop to 59 million metric tons from its previous 58 million. USDA has Argentina's soy crop at 57 million metric tons.
No U.S. soybean planting was scheduled to be reported in USDA's upcoming crop progress report on Monday.
May soybeans settled up 2-3/4 cents at $9.68-3/4 per bushel and July gained 2-1/2 at $9.71-1/2. New-crop November was unchanged at $9.52-3/4.
CBOT estimated Friday's soybean volume at 188,418, compared with Thursday's actual of 187,844.
What to Look For – Attention to Midwest weather and to the South American harvest. Weather has been good with ample moisture.
Wheat futures were mixed, with Chicago's soft red winter and Minneapolis spring wheat mostly lower, and Kansas City's hard red winter slightly higher.
Spring wheat set contract lows early, but recovered, while KCBT's HRW set contract lows on Thursday but not Friday.
Rain remains in the forecast for the Plains through Saturday and wheat farmers in Kansas hope it falls where it is needed. Previous showers have missed the drier areas in western Kansas and in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. Meanwhile, the soft red winter in the Midwest has had plenty of rain and maps show showers there as well.
Traders await Monday's condition reports to determine if the latest rain improved the winter wheat from last week's 42% good to excellent rating. Kansas wheat was rated then at 28% good/excellent.
Spring wheat planting is underway with 17% in the ground as of last Sunday. That progress also will be updated on Monday.
Estimated volume in Chicago's soft red winter wheat on Friday was 113,267, compared with Thursday's actual of 174,708.
May SRW closed unchanged at $4.94-1/2 per bushel and July was down 1-1/2 at $4.89-1/4.
Kansas City's May HRW rose 1 cent to $5.09-1/4 and July added ¾ cent to $5.14-3/4.
Spring wheat for May dropped 2-1/4 cents to $5.32-3/4 and July fell 2-1/4 to $5.44-1/4.
What to Look For – The parade of rain showers this week should help wheat in the Plains. The Plains wheat needs rain, while the Midwest crop has had plenty.
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