Chicago Close - New Year's Eve

31/12/10 -- The grain markets ended 2010 with a few fireworks of their own, in a close that pretty much typified what's gone on for most of the second half of the year. Thoughts that this week might bring a wave of year-end book squaring and profit taking were dispelled with soybeans posting 44c gains, with corn up 15c and CBOT wheat up 11c on the week as a whole. Beans hit 28 month highs, whilst corn bettered that with a 29 month high today.


Jan 11 soybeans closed at USD13.93 3/4, up 27 3/4 cents; Jan 11 Soybean meal closed at USD370.30, up USD4.90; Jan 11 soybean oil closed at 57.74, up 113 points. Front month beans have gained 34% this year, with meal up 17% and oil up 46%. The years low on beans was USD9/bu back in June, so we've actually seen the market gain 55% since then. Concerns over production prospects in Argentina was again the main catalyst to light a fire under the bean market today. Soybean plantings there are 81% done, 10.5% behind last year's pace and private analysts are already trimming their production forecasts for 2011.


Mar 11 corn closed at USD6.29, up 13 cents; May 11 corn closed at USD6.36 1/2, up 12 1/2 cents. Front month corn is up 54% on the year and has almost doubled in price since the summer low was set following the June grain stocks report. Demand appears to be robust with corn export shipments at a marketing year high this week. Meanwhile production prospects in Argentina, the world's second largest exporter after the US, are diminishing by the day.


Mar 11 CBOT wheat closed at USD7.94 1/4, up 9 1/2 cents; Mar 11 KCBT wheat closed at USD8.51, up 7 1/2 cents; Mar 11 MGEX wheat closed at USD8.81 1/2, up 9 1/2 cents. Front month CBOT wheat is up 47% on the year and almost double the summer low set in June. Spillover support from beans and corn pushed wheat higher in the last trading session of the year. Dryness in Argentina isn't an issue for the wheat crop, indeed it may help harvesting pick up from 60.5% complete earlier this week. The dry US Plains may see some welcome precipitation this week, although the crop entered winter dormancy in a pretty poor state. There are concerns too for Russian and Chinese wheat.

EU Wheat Closing Comments

31/12/10 -- EU wheat closed 2010 on another bright note with Jan London wheat up GBP1.15 to GBP199.00/tonne, and new crop Nov GBP1.00 higher at GBP170.50/tonne. Jan Paris wheat rose EUR4.50 to EUR252.50/tonne and Nov was up EUR3.25 to EUR223.75/tonne.

Not to be outdone, Paris corn closed with Jan EUR6.00 higher at EUR235.00/tonne, whilst Feb Paris rapeseed rose EUR1.00 to EUR497.25/tonne. In a nutshell, just about everything closed at or very close to lifetime contract highs, with all front months at or very close to historic spot month highs.

Overall front month London wheat rose a stunning 87% on the year, with Paris wheat even bettering that slightly with a 92% gain. For the record, the spot low for London wheat was on March 12th at GBP92.25/tonne, we've risen 116% since then when barley all over Europe was pouring into intervention.

Safe to say that it's been a truly astonishing year. Traders will be glad of the break to attempt to take stock and attempt to decide where do we go from here when they regroup next week.

Tight European old crop stocks will dominate their thoughts, in the wake of continued strong demand with fully half a marketing year still remaining before those reserves can be replenished.

Output prospects for 2011 look set to remain uncertain for some time yet amongst many of the major producing nations such as the US, China and Russia.

The latter has said today that it will begin selling off it's near 10 MMT of intervention grain stocks at the rate of 400,000-500,000 MT/month starting in January.

That should help see them through until next summer, but leaves them extremely vulnerable should they have another harvest disaster next year.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2011. Nogger.

Morning Muse, And Another Peek Into 2011

31/12/10 -- We seem set for a quiet subdued shortened trading day, unsurprisingly. Whatever book-squaring needed doing will largely already have been done, offices will be short staffed and everyone will be looking to knock off early.

The overnight grains see soybeans 4-6c higher, corn 1-2c firmer and wheat around unchanged.

If things were to stay like that then we'd close 2010 with the following front month changes compared with 31/12/09: CBOT wheat +45%; CBOT corn +49%; CBOT soybeans +32%.

For what it's worth an unchanged close today on EU futures would show the following front month year-on-year gains: London wheat +86%; Paris wheat +89%; Paris corn +69%; Paris rapeseed +73%.

Some very respectable gains there, if you're an arable farmer, or a greedy parasitical fund manager called Tarquin.

Dryness remains a concern for winter wheat in China and the US, plus for soybeans and corn in Argentina. There are also question marks over the well-being of what wheat did get planted in Russia, and over how much of the shortfall in winter plantings will get sown in the spring.

So there's quite a few things there to keep us guessing until at least Easter.

The next raft of information to come onto the market comes in the form the USDA's WASDE and quarterly stocks reports on Jan 12th. February will bring us the conclusions of the USDA's Outlook Forum, when the first ballpark ideas on spring soybean and corn plantings in the US are released ahead of the more official March 31st prospective plantings report.

By then the Brazilian soybean harvest will already be winding down and the Argie one be just about to get going. We will also be in the thick of the Indian wheat harvest, a report on Dow Jones Newswires today quotes one top official there as saying that the government's estimate of 82 MMT - itself a record - is "very conservative."

He doesn't give what, in his opinion, is a more realistic figure - but even say a crop of 85 MMT wouldn't make very much difference at all to global wheat trade.

After that we're into the wheat harvest in North Africa and the Middle East come April/May, before moving into Turkey/Ukraine. The US wheat harvest will now have started in Texas before moving gradually north and east followed by early harvesting in Russia/Kazakhstan and Europe.

It will be this kind of early summer timeframe before we get a shot at any serious stock replenishment from the major exporters in the northern hemisphere. Personally I don't rate Russia's chances of allowing the export embargo to expire this summer as being very high. I see it being extended for at the very least another three months, and quite likely to the end of the year and maybe even beyond that into 2012.

Of course if prices are still relatively high by then, as many currently seem to think that they will be, then "the usual suspects" such as Ukraine/Kazakhstan and the Eastern European nations will be eager to cash their chips in early.

Indeed, I'd go so far as to suggest that these boys will be aggressive sellers of whatever they've got no matter what prices are doing by then.

However, we've still got six months of dwindling European supplies to get through before we reach this point, and the Eastern European shops are already largely shut.

I'll still stick with my prediction of London wheat peaking around May at GBP225-230/tonne.

CBOT Close

30/12/10 -- Soybeans

Jan 11 soybeans closed unchanged at USD13.66; Jan 11 soybean meal closed at USD365.40, down USD0.30; Jan 11 soybean oil closed at 56.61, up 23 points. The market was balanced by strong demand, and a higher outlook for 2011 against the desire to book profits ahead of year end. Weekly export sales were good at 948,200 MT, against expectations of 900 TMT -1.3 MMT. Respected South American analyst Michael Cordonnier is said to have cut his forecast for Argy soybean production by 1 MMT to 48 MMT today.


Mar 11 corn closed at USD6.16, down 8 cents; May 11 corn closed at USD6.24, down 8 cents; Jul 11 corn closed at USD6.28, down 7 3/4 cents. Profit taking was understandable following a nine day rise in values. Year-end profit-taking and pressure from wheat also led corn lower. Weekly export sales were OK at 756,600 MT. The market closes at noon tomorrow and volume is expected to be light. Argentine drought remains a concern.


Mar 11 CBOT wheat closed at USD7.84 3/4, down 14 1/2 cents; Mar 11 KCBT wheat closed at USD8.43 1/2, down 14 1/4 cents; Mar 11 MGEX wheat closed at USD8.72, down 11 1/4 cents. Wheat managed to finish well off earlier session lows although profit-taking apparently caused most of today's declines. Export sales fell below the low end of trade estimates at 438,500 MT. Bangladesh is in the market for 50,000 MT of wheat, and Iraq for 100,000 MT & Turkey for 300,000 MT.

EU Wheat Close

30/12/10 -- EU wheat closed unchanged to mostly lower Thursday with Jan London wheat down GBP1.50 to GBP197.85/tonne, and new crop Nov GBP0.50 lower at GBP169.50/tonne. Jan Paris wheat fell EUR4.50 to EUR248.00/tonne and Nov declined EUR3.75 to EUR220.50/tonne.

Profit-taking ahead of the year end probably had a lot to do with it as fundamentally nothing that much has changed.

The pound slipped below 1.16 against the euro, underpinning UK wheat on the export stage. Not that we need any more export business. In the North East "Ensus Corridor" ex farm feed wheat prices are now running close to parity with London futures levels I hear.

It is probably only a matter of time before start importing.

Chicago wheat opened lower and continued to decline towards the end of the European session, pressuring prices lower this side of the pond.

The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange upped it's estimate for wheat production there by 1 MMT to 14.5 MMT, with harvesting around three quarters done. That would be getting on for almost double last year's output of 7.5 MMT.

On the US High Plains "a 1,500 mile stretch of most of the nation’s HRW crop has seen less than 0.50 inch of precipitation this month and a lack of protective snow cover too," according to QT Weather.

December has been abnormally dry and there is little relief ahead as continuing dryness is maintained in this strong La Nina pattern, they add.

EU Rapemeal Prices

30/12/10 -- Latest guide prices for EU rapemeal.

Basis FOB Lower Rhine in euros/metric tonne, with change from previous trading day:

May/FH Jul11

Early Call On Chicago

30/12/10 -- The overnight grains were mixed to mostly lower with wheat leading the way down 8-10c. Corn was down 2-3c and beans flat to up 1c.

Crude oil is weaker at USD90.60/barrel and the US dollar is also down a tad.

Nobody seems to be expecting too many fireworks today/tomorrow although there may be some modest booking of profits just in case weather forecasts change over the weekend.

There's uncertainty surrounding precipitation chances on the US Plains and some forecasters are also citing a better chance of rains in Argentina than they were calling for yesterday.

The USDA's weekly export sales didn't provide any major surprises, and the trade seems to be slipping into the weekend semi-comatosed already and looking forward to everything being back to normal next week.

Respected South American analyst Michael Cordonnier is said to have cut his forecast for Argy soybean production by 1 MMT to 48 MMT today, citing "irregular" rains. The revised estimate is fully 4 MMT lower than the USDA's latest forecast.

Bangladesh is in the market for 50,000 MT of wheat.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: beans up 1-2c, corn down 2-4c, wheat down 7-9c.

USDA Weekly Export Sales

30/12/10 -- USDA weekly export sales for the period Dec 17-23 were broadly in line with trade expectations, although wheat was slightly under and corn towards the low end of trade estimates.

Soybean sales were bang in line at 948,200 MT, including 285,000 MT of new crop sales all of which were to China.

948,200 MT
900 TMT -1.3 MMT
438,500 MT
450 - 650 TMT
756,600 MT
750 TMT - 1.05 MMT

Early Vibe

30/12/10 -- There's very little in the way of fresh news this morning. Some are suggesting a bit of much needed moisture for the US Great Plains, which explains a bit of weakness in wheat overnight.

There may be a better chance of some moisture relief on the cards for parts of Argentina too, according to some reports. Even so soybeans are around 6c higher overnight.

Profit-taking may be a feature today/tomorrow, although the vibe is a generally relaxed one that long holders feel comfortable enough to run their positions across the weekend. Indeed, although Friday is a shortened session for all the grains most of the markets are open again on Monday anyway, so apart from us here in the UK it's really not that much different to any other weekend.

One of the big unanswered questions is what will the funds fancy doing when they return in the new year?

In the UK, those that have taken the full festive period off will return to see many feed prices GBP10-15/tonne higher than the ones they didn't fancy paying just before Christmas.

There doesn't seem like there will be too much in the way of price relief in January either, especially if the pound goes for a bit of a burton* as I expect. Still there's always the cricket....

* Gone for a Burton definition from Wikipedia here

Chicago Close

29/12/10 -- Soybeans

Jan soybeans closed down 9 3/4 cents at USD13.66/bushel; Jan soymeal ended down USD2.90 at USD365.70; soyoil closed 44 points lower at 56.38. Beans have had a very good run and some profit-taking ahead of the year end was more than understandable. The outlook for 2011 still remains undeniably bullish, as the market now starts to focus on Argentine production problems. Private exporters announced the sale of 120,000 MT of soybeans to China. Estimates for tomorrow's weekly export sales range from 900 TMT to 1.3 MMT.


March corn closed up 3/4 cent at USD6.24 per bushel; May corn was also up 3/4 cent at USD6.32 per bushel. As with soybeans the corn market took a bit of a breather today, although the uptrend is firmly intact. Private exporters announced the sale of 120,000 MT of corn to Mexico. Estimates for tomorrow's weekly export sales report range from 750 TMT to 1.05 MMT. There's some talk of irreparable damage already having been done to corn acres in Argentina. Warmer than normal temperatures there are expected to continue for at least the next fortnight.


CBOT March wheat closed up 1 cent at USD7.99 1/4 a bushel; KCBT March wheat slipped 2 3/4 cents to USD8.57 3/4; MGEX March wheat fell 1 cent to USD8.83 1/4. The Australian harvest is said to be approximately 75% done, yet production forecasts still vary widely. Local firm Australian Crop Forecasters today dropped their estimate from 25.5 MMT to 24.4 MMT. Government backed ABARE still say a record 26.8 MMT, yet other forecasts are in the 22-23 MMT region. Quality is undoubtedly substantially down, although again estimates on how much of the crop will be downgraded to feed wheat.

EU Wheat Closing Comments

29/12/10 -- EU wheat closed almost universally higher with Jan11 London wheat up GBP1.85 at GBP199.35/tonne and new crop Nov11 GBP3.75 higher at GBP170.00/tonne. Paris wheat closed with Jan11 unchanged at EUR252.50/tonne and Nov11 climbing EUR0.50 to EUR224.25/tonne.

London wheat gained the most as the Paris market was able to post significant gains of it's own yesterday when the London market was closed.

It was a highest ever contract lifetime close for every wheat contract both sides of the Channel for both old and new crop months, with the sole exception of unchanged Jan11 Paris wheat which still managed to at least match yesterday's all time high.

Jan11 London wheat had earlier posted an intraday high of GBP200/tonne for the first time in history for any front month.

The strong pace of UK and French wheat exports continues to underpin the entire market with fully six months left remaining in the 2010/11 marketing year.

Although Egypt passed on French origin wheat in yesterday's tender it was still priced competitively. The fact that they are still back buying on a weekly basis even at these levels surely has to be seen as supportive for global wheat in general.

EU Rapemeal Prices

29/12/10 -- Latest guide prices for EU rapemeal.

Basis FOB Lower Rhine in euros/metric tonne, with change from previous trading day:

May/FH Jul11

Early Call On Chicago

29/12/10 -- The overnights closed with beans down 6-7c, wheat generally 2-4c lower and corn mixed, and that is where the opening calls now are for this afternoon.

Fresh news is limited, all three markets have posted impressive gains this month so a bit of year-end profit taking is probably more than overdue. Don't go expecting any wholesale exodus this week however, there seems to be a feeling that things can only move higher again come the new year.

There's already talk of the Argie corn crop having suffered damage due to heat and lack of moisture, soybeans too also now seem to be under threat before the crop is even fully planted. Some forecasts today appear to be factoring in a bit more rain than yesterday however.

"Significant precipitation of greater than one inch will reach La Pampa and Buenos Aires 6 days from today (Jan 5-6). The best chance for rain farther north in the remainder of the humid Pampas is one day later (day 7), with 0.15-0.50 inches expected at 60% coverage. Another six days of dry weather is then seen," say QT Weather.

The USDA have today reported 120,000 MT of soybeans sold to China despite prices now pushing USD14/bushel. Mexico also bought a similar quantity of US corn.

European grain futures hitting contract highs is adding support.

The dollar and crude oil are both a little lower, although the latter is close to the highs of the year at over USD91/barrel.

Is There Any Way Out For The Pound?

29/12/10 -- The outlook for commodity prices here in the new year will be heavily influenced by the fortunes, or lack of them, of the pound. From where I am standing the immediate prospects don't look too bright.

Whilst the dollar and euro themselves are hardly shining beacons of strength, the prospects for sterling as we enter the new year look even bleaker.

Currently standing at around 1.5375 against the dollar, the pound is at three and a half month low against the greenback and stands perilously close to slipping below 1.53 to levels not seen since July.

We have unemployment now rising rapidly, with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development saying that 2.7 million people will be out of work before the end 2011, the highest jobless total in 17 years. That's almost one in ten of the working population on the dole as the government's enforced austerity measures start to bite.

Hefty job losses in the public sector will lead the way, combined with strikes and other social discontent as demonstrated by the nation's great unwashed recently, 2011 looks set to be a year of unrest.

Meanwhile house prices are forecast to fall as much as 10 percent next year as spending cuts and unemployment bites, along with continued tightness in the lending market.

Food prices are rising too, as we all know in this industry, and that rate of growth is only likely to accelerate given the current outlook for feed and fuel prices. Then, on top of that little lot, we have the impending VAT increase now just days away.

All of this points to significantly reduced consumer spending. The TV people can always manage to find video footage of shoppers breaking down the doors of Harvey Nicks desperate to flash the plastic on Boxing Day, but the evidence of my own eyes tells me that High Street spending has been depressed this Christmas. And I don't believe that it's all down to the weather.

Even if most of it is, retail sales figures are likely to disappoint when all the till receipts are added up in January. As the VAT increase kicks in and people become more concerned about their jobs and find a larger slice of their salaries going on food and utility bills, consumers are going to be tightening their belts in 2011.

That paints a pretty bleak picture for the UK economy, and maybe sets the tone for an enforced continuation of the existing loose fiscal policy, low interest rates and perhaps even more QE.

All of that points to further sterling depreciation ahead, especially against the likes of the Aussie Dollar, Asian currencies in general, the Swiss Franc etc where their economies are positively booming relative to our own.

A more modest decrease, but a decrease nevertheless, seems likely against the euro and US dollar too I'd say.

The Early Vibe

29/12/10 -- Records have been tumbling whilst the UK has had a four day holiday to digest the Christmas turkey.

Paris was open for business as usual yesterday, seeing Jan milling wheat break through the EUR250/tonne barrier to hit the highest levels for a front month since March 2008. Front month Feb rapeseed also broke through EUR500/tonne yesterday, although it finally closed just below that important psychological mark.

Meanwhile in Chicago last night nearby March wheat went through USD8/bushel for the first time since news of exactly how bad things were in Russia hit back in August.

The ongoing drought in Argentina has also seen CBOT corn establish itself well above USD6/bushel, with soybeans now seemingly setting their sights on a shot at USD14/bushel. Corn set a 29 month high yesterday and beans a 28 month high.

A glance at the front month continuous weekly charts on shows just about every commodity barring Paris malting barley looking set to close 2010 at the highest levels of the year (and for what it's worth malting barley was only EUR1.50 off the weekly high close last night).

London wheat has come in sharply higher at the opening this morning, with all four old crop months now GBP200/tonne or higher as the market plays catch up after two days of closures. New crop Nov11 is up GBP3.75 to a contract high GBP170/tonne this morning, and even Nov12 is up GBP3.00 to GBP150/tonne.

What will happen in the new year if a further wave of fresh investment money comes flooding into these markets is a truly scary thought.

EU Wheat Close - Tuesday

28/12/10 -- London wheat was closed Tuesday, although the French market was open ending with Jan Paris wheat up EUR3.50 at EUR252.50/tonne, whilst new crop Nov climbed EUR3.75 to EUR223.75/tonne.

French wheat dipped out on the latest Egyptian tender, with the order going the way of US and Argentine wheat. That didn't seem to perturb the market too much however given the rapid pace of existing export activity.

French wheat hit contract highs despite the Egyptian disappointment, some would say it would have been an inconvenience to have won it in fact.

The market has to be particularly robust when a failed export tender is almost seen as a blessing in disguise.

Weather conditions in Australia seem to have improved, aiding harvest progress there, although quality remains an issue.

CBOT Close - Tuesday

28/12/10 -- Soybeans

Jan soybeans closed at USD13.75 3/4, up 2 3/4 cents; Jan soybean meal closed at USD368.60, up USD2.20; Jan soybean oil closed at 56.82, down 33 points. Beans managed to post fresh highs despite poor export inspections and Argentine weather worries. China revised Dec soybean imports down from 5.8 MMT to 5.4 MMT and raised interest rates over the weekend, but the market just seems to want to go higher. The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange report soybean plantings at 75% complete, 11% behind last year.


Mar 11 corn closed at USD6.23 1/4, up 8 cents; May 11 corn closed at USD6.31 1/4, up 8 1/4 cents. Drought in Argentina is probably more damaging to corn than soybeans at the moment as 50% of the corn crop is estimated to be at the the critical pollinating stage. "Argentina has begun a very hot and dry period where temperatures will reach 95-105F on a daily basis for at least the next ten days. Precipitation will be limited or nonexistent in all but the far SW and in S Brazil," say QT Weather.


Mar 11 CBOT wheat closed at USD7.98 1/4, up 18 cents; Mar 11 KCBT wheat closed at USD8.60 1/2, up 16 3/4 cents; Mar 11 MGEX wheat closed at USD8.84 1/4, up 18 cents. Egypt bought one cargo of US wheat in today's tender, although they also booked two cargoes of Argentine wheat. Iraq is also said to be in the market for at least 100,000 MT of wheat this week. Ukraine has officially extended their grain export quota system until the end of the first quarter of 2011, increasing the limit to 4.2 MMT.

Is It All Over Yet?

28/12/10 -- Hurrah! Christmas passed without even a sniff of a sprout, no sign of a fight and no gin-sozzled Aunty Doris sobbing uncontrollably into her hankie over Uncle Eric's thirty two year dalliance with "that slapper two doors down".

MrsN#3's kids seemed more than happy with their pressies, both of my grown up ones rang me specifically on the day too - which is a bit of a first - and we didn't run out of beer thanks to my contingency planning. All in all a bit of a result.

To add to my festive joy the kids - MrsN#3's two - have been consigned to their "my Dad's six foot seven you know" fathers for two days, presumably to learn some new circus tricks and the lovely MrsN#3 has gone to work leaving just me and the dog Chummy to enjoy a morning of total quiet and relaxation.

For Chummy that involves sitting in front of the fire, and for me of course it means catching up on what's happened in the grain markets over the long weekend, even though technically today is still a holiday here in the UK.

The garlic-munchers are in today and the Septics - who got a sneaky day off on Christmas Eve - are pretty much back to normal already. For your convenience I've put up a list of who is open when on the righthand side of the blog to guide you through the rest of the Christmas period.

So, besides England dishing out a bit of a cricketing masterclass to the Aussies, what has happened of any significance over the past few days?

China only sold 14% of the corn on offer at today's government auction. That was a better uptake rate than for soybeans, where there we no bids again for the third auction in a row. There is some talk that the lack of interest in soybeans may at least partly reflect the quality of what is held in the government's coffers rather than lack of demand.

China also upped their interest rates by a quarter on Christmas Day, the people themselves were expecting the Strictly Come Dancing DVD boxed set this year as they strive to absorb all things Western, so they may be a tad disappointed with that.

The market seemed to have only a very brief wobble at that news before continuing to march higher. Beans and corn are both posting multi-year highs on the back of the ongoing drought in Argentina, which got little in the way of rainfall over the holiday period.

Furthermore, there isn't anything helpful in the forecast either.

"Argentina has begun a very hot and dry period where temperatures will reach 95-105F on a daily basis for at least the next ten days. Precipitation will be limited or nonexistent in all but the far SW and in S Brazil," say QT Weather.

Argie corn is now in the critical pollinating period, and they are the world's largest exporter of the grain after the US. There's still a bit of time for soybeans yet, but the writing is already on the wall for corn.

Just when some Aussies might have wished for even more rain - did I mention that we're beating them at the cricket? - it's been and gone and dried up on them, a bit like their runs.

That seems to be getting viewed as a bit bearish for wheat as the harvest advances. Indeed there are some reports now filtering through of some silo facilities in SA and NSW already being filled to capacity as this season's bumper crop finally gets cut.

The NSW State government however have downsized their production estimates this month for wheat, barley and rapeseed from what they were predicting in October. That said, output of all three is still up massively on 2009. Is the cup half full or half empty?

For wheat they now predict a crop of 8.75 MMT (from 9.21 MMT in October and compared to 6.45 MMT in 2009). For barley they say 2.29 MMT (2.33 MMT: 1.24 MMT) and for rapeseed 605 TMT (651 TMT; 235 TMT).

Wheat quality has been "badly affected" by the rain, whilst barley quality is variable, "the barley yet to be harvested is expected now to be largely feed grade," they say. For rapeseed "up to 23,000 ha has been lost to waterlogging, flooding and shot and sprung grain and is unharvestable," they add. Shame that they're losing at the cricket too then isn't it?

Egypt are tendering for wheat today, it could be that the recent dollar strength just edges out US wheat in that one. We shall know later this afternoon.

The USDA yesterday said that pig numbers there are down by much more than expected. A situation being replicated right here in Europe too. The cure for high prices will ultimately once again be high prices it seems. The questions are when, and how much higher do we go first?

Chicago Close - Monday

27/12/10 -- Soybeans

Jan 11 soybeans closed at USD13.73, up 23 1/2 cents; Jan 11 soybean meal closed at USD366.40, up USD6.40; Jan 11 soybean oil closed at 57.15, up 56 points. China raised their interest rates over the weekend, which may curb imports, but that news was eclipsed by dryness in Argentina. By the close of play soybeans were at their highest in more than two years, with funds buying an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 contracts. Export inspections were poor at 23.331 million bushels, but that information was largely ignored by a market seemingly determined to press higher.


Mar 11 corn closed at USD6.15 1/4, up 1 1/4 cents; May 11 corn closed at USD6.23, up 1 cent. Corn was supported by spillover strength from beans, advancing to its highest levels since July 2008. Export inspections of 32.561 million bushels were in line with trade estimates. Dryness in Argentina is probably more of an issue for corn right now than it is for soybeans, with around half the crop in the middle-ending of the critical pollinating period. The forecast for the next ten days is hot and dry, with temperatures set to hit the top 90's to low 100's.


Mar 11 CBOT wheat closed at USD7.80 1/4, down 2 3/4 cents; Mar 11 KCBT wheat closed at USD8.43 3/4, down 1 1/4 cents; Mar 11 MGEX wheat closed at USD8.66 1/4, down 2 cents. For wheat it was a quiet low volume day. Export inspections of 17.499 million bushels were in line with expectations, that brings the total year-to-date inspections total to 636,429 million, well ahead of 481,909 million this time last year. Egypt announced another weekly tender after the close with the results expected tomorrow, it remains to be seen if the recent strength of the dollar allows US wheat to feature.