Views on commodities and energy
USDA crop report first on the agenda for CBOT grains
This week begins with a fresh crop report from the U.S. government. USDA on Monday will update its latest U.S. and global supply-and-demand figures, featuring new 2008 American corn and soybean output numbers.
The report comes on the heels of the agency’s unprecedented correction of its Oct. 10 crop report nearly two weeks ago when it found in error its acreage forecasts — cutting one million harvested acres off of both corn and soy.
The general feeling is that USDA will raise its corn production and ending stocks projections to reflect strong harvest yields. In contrast, soy output and supply estimates will likely be lowered due to disappointing crop yields.
World and U.S. wheat supply forecasts were seen dropping because of dry growing conditions in Argentina and Australia and a better-than-expected export pace for U.S. wheat.
“After the report we’ll watch the outside markets, especially the energies which have a large influence over the grains,” one cash-connected CBOT trader said.
The outside markets dominated the moves in CBOT grains and oilseeds last week. All slipped on signs of a deepening global recession. The Dow industrials fell 4 percent to end below the 9,000-mark. Crude oil sank $6 on the week, closing Friday at $61 a barrel after hitting a 19-month low the day before of $60.16 due to easing demand.
It was a week with plenty of news, including the election of a new U.S. president and the worst jobless rate in more than 14 years.
That brought added volatility to the Dow industrials, with CBOT markets tagging along. The Dow saw its biggest Election Day rally in history on Tuesday as investors savored the end of uncertainty surrounding the presidential election, followed by stocks having their worst two-day slide since October 1987.
Within CBOT markets, soybeans held up the best, falling just 1 percent compared to corn which was down more than 6 percent and wheat 3 percent lower.
China’s voracious appetite for U.S. soybeans and a lack of farmer sales supported CBOT soy markets. Corn, on the other hand, is seeing mediocre demand given the ailing ethanol industry and stymied export sales.
Undoubtedly, CBOT markets will be driven by the economic landscape in the week ahead while waiting with bated breath for President-elect Barack Obama’s pick for U.S. Treasury secretary.