January 6th, 2017
Soybean futures led Chicago grain markets lower, after some dismal US export sales figures, which suggest that business is going to South American sellers.
US soybean export sales for 2016-17 shipment in the most recent week were a fraction of what was expected, after a huge cancellation from an unknown buyer.
The 900,000 tonne cancellation left net-sales at just 87,500 tonnes, where markets were expecting sales of 800,000 to 1.20m tonnes.
"Soybean sales were just terrible easily posting the lowest total of the year," said Joe Lardy, at CHS Hedging.
Soybean Futures: Change in mood
"This really hurt the psychology of the soybean market," said Darrell Holaday, at CHS Hedging.
The poor sales may shift expectations for next week's US Department of Agriculture supply and demand figures.
"Keep in mind the bulls have been hoping that USDA may increase their US export projection from their current record projection of 2.050bn bushels," Mr Holaday said.
"This number trimmed those ideas back, which will likely be followed by a disappointing weekly sales number next week," Mr Holaday said.
"The long-term danger is that total exports will be below that level if the South American production is over 155m tonnes."
Soybean Futures: Argentina dries out
Elsewhere, the fundamental picture soybeans is also not supportive.
Argentina is expected to see dry weather, which will help dry out fields for planting.
And in northern Brazil, the forecast is still pointing to needed rains over next week.
March soybean futures settled down 1.7%, at $9.95 ¼ a bushel.
Corn Futures: Weak corn sales as well
Soybean export sales were the big story of the day, but the numbers for corn and wheat were not supportive either.
Corn export sales came in at just 429,300 tonnes, where analysts were expecting 650,000 to 950,000 tonnes, the lowest sales of the marketing year.
"Even sadder is the fact that corn sales were higher than beans, meal, oil and wheat combined," noted Mr Lardy.
March corn futures settled down 0.7%, at $3.58 ¾ a bushel.
London wheat gains on currency movement
Wheat export sales came in at an underwhelming 183,600 tonnes, below the bottom end of analyst expectations, and also the lowest of the marketing year.
March Chicago wheat futures settled down 0.6%, at $4.23 ¾ a bushel.
But it was a different picture in the UK, where the falling sterling is opening up export prospects.
"UK wheat closed at its highest since the end of June 2014 on the back of a struggling sterling and emerging weather risks in key producing/exporting countries," said CRM AgriCommodities.
May wheat futures in London settled up 0.9%, at £144.75 a tonne.
- William Clarke Agrimoney.