Grain futures weekly recap, December 16 – December 20

Grain futures were mixed during the week, with wheat touching fresh 19-month lows on Friday, marking a third straight week of declines on expectations of a bigger Argentine crop, which added to record global supplies. Meanwhile, soybeans and corn advanced to settle the week higher amid weather forecasts calling for continuing dry and hot weather in Argentina and Brazil.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, wheat futures for settlement in March advanced 0.53% to settle at $6.1363 per bushel, but marked a third consecutive week of declines. Prices jumped to a session high of $6.1562, while day’s low was touched at $6.0738 per bushel, the weakest since May 16th 2011, when prices bottomed at $6.0412 per bushel. Wheat has slumped 21% so far this year on expectations for a record-high global output of 711.42 million metric tons, according to data by the USDA.

On Thursday, Argentina increased its forecast for the country’s 2013-2014 harvest to 9 million from previously expected 8.5 million tons.

Vanessa Tan, an analyst at Phillip Futures Pte. in Singapore, said, cited by Bloomberg, that Argentina’s forecast “further emphasizes the abundant global supplies that the wheat market is experiencing,” and added: “We’re seeing more examples of wheat purchases bypassing U.S. supplies. That just goes to show how U.S. wheat is continuing to lose its competitiveness in the global market.”

On December 15th, Iraq bought 400 000 tons of wheat from Canada and Australia in a tender, while Japan purchased 109 244 tons of US wheat on Thursday.

On December 10th, the USDA, raised its November forecast before the start of the Northern Hemisphere harvests in 2014 to 182.78 million tons, up from 178.48 million tons. The revision was mainly due to the higher-than-expected Canadian and Australian harvests compared to a year ago.

DTN’s December 19th forecast called for episodes of below to much-below-normal temperatures in the Midwest. The remaining harvest will be disrupted by episodes of snow, rain and some mixed precipitation over southern and eastern areas. The Central and Southern Plains will experience dry weather, with only a little light precipitation, favoring the northwest and southeast areas today or later tonight. There is a likelihood of rain or showers and thundershowers through north Texas and through southern and eastern Oklahoma during Friday or Friday night. Temperatures trend was expected to reverse on Friday and Saturday.

Soybeans futures for settlement in January added 0.89% on Friday to settle the week at $13.3825 per bushel. Prices swung between day’s high and low of $13.4488 and $13.2188 per bushel respectively. The oilseed added 0.84% last week, after gaining 0.11% in the preceding one. On December 10th, soybeans reached $13.5338, the strongest level since September 19th.

Corn advances as well

Corn futures for March delivery rose by 1.00% to settle at $4.3388 per bushel on Friday, marking a 2.06% weekly increase. Futures held in a range between day’s high and low of $4.3412 and $4.2762 per bushel. On December 16th, prices touched $4.2063, the lowest since December 2nd. Corn lost 2.2% last week, after gaining 2.6% in the preceding two 5-day-periods. The grain has fallen 39 percent so far this year as the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast domestic output to jump by 30% to reach a record-high.

Corn and soybeans prices were supported by weather predictions which called for continuing dry and hot weather in Brazil and Argentina.

DTN reported on December 19th that the corn and soybean belt of Argentina will experience dry and hot, or even very hot conditions in the next six to seven days. A few showers may occur in some regions, but altogether the weather pattern will be very hot throughout the producing regions of the country. In Brazil, the weather in Rio Grande do Sul and Parana will be hot, with few scarce afternoon showers, while temperatures will be above normal. A high pressure formation will keep the fields of the two countries dry, as they already haven’t seen rain for almost two weeks, worsening moisture deficits in those areas and supporting prices.

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