Karl's Feed
Jun 2, 2014

Blackhawks fall narrowly short in brave Cup defense

By Karl Plume

(Reuters) – The Chicago Blackhawks saw their hopes of a second consecutive Stanley Cup triumph dashed in heartbreaking fashion with a 5-4 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings in a deciding Game Seven of their Western Conference Finals on Sunday.

Chicago won the opener of a thrilling series between the last two Stanley Cup champions but lost the next three, leaving no room for error against a Kings team armed with an opportunistic offense and bruising defense.

May 30, 2014

Illinois budget with income tax revenue hole passes

, May 30 (Reuters) – The Illinois Senate
gave final approval to the state’s $35.7 billion fiscal 2015
budget on Friday, sending the governor a spending plan that
plugs a big tax revenue hole with one-time measures.

Temporary income-tax rate hikes, passed in 2011 in the midst
of one of the state’s budget pinches, are set to partially
expire on Jan. 1, causing an estimated $2 billion revenue
decline in the fiscal year that begins on July 1. Yet the budget
bills, which were passed by the Democratic-controlled House on
Tuesday, keep most spending flat despite the projected revenue

May 27, 2014

Brazilian soybeans reach U.S. East Coast, more cargoes en route

May 27 (Reuters) – Two bulk shipments of Brazilian soybeans
arrived at the U.S. ports of Wilmington, North Carolina, and
Norfolk, Virginia, over the weekend, the first large South
American shipments to hit the U.S. East Coast this season,
Reuters shipping data showed.

They were the latest shipments since two cargoes arrived at
the U.S. Gulf Coast early last month, starting the country’s
biggest wave of soy imports in history, with about 2 million
tonnes expected to reach U.S. shores over the next two months.

May 23, 2014

Soybeans slide, corn firms in pre-holiday consolidation

CHICAGO, May 23 (Reuters) – U.S. soybean futures eased on
Friday as investors unwound spreads and squared positions ahead
of the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but the market remained
poised for its strongest weekly advance in five weeks.

Wheat fell for the fourth straight day and hit a 10-1/2 week
low on weak demand and abundant global supplies. Corn firmed on
bargain buying and as traders unwound long soybean and short
corn spreads.

May 22, 2014

Soybeans soar to contract highs on demand, tight supplies

CHICAGO, May 22 (Reuters) – U.S. soybeans rallied for a
second straight session on Thursday, with old-crop futures
hitting contract highs as relentless demand stoked worries about
shrinking short-term supplies in the United States.
Corn edged higher after hitting an 11-week low in the
previous session on spillover support from soybeans, but prices
remained anchored by favorable weather in the U.S. Midwest that
allowed farmers to wrap up planting of this year’s crop.
Wheat slumped to a 10-week low on technical selling and weak
demand for U.S. wheat, while signs of improving crop weather in
the U.S. wheat belt further weighed on prices.
Soybeans have climbed nearly 4 percent in two days, fuelled
by steady export demand and a soaring soymeal market <0#SM:>,
which posted across-the-board contract highs on Thursday.
“The fact that soybean export sales weren’t negative is
beneficial and we saw another good round of soybean meal as
well, which is quite supportive,” said Sterling Smith, a futures
specialist with Citigroup.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said exporters sold a net
615,600 tonnes of U.S. soybeans last week, including 164,400
tonnes of old-crop supplies, and 350,300 tonnes of soymeal, the
most in nine weeks.
The soy complex also got a lift from China’s factory sector,
which posted its best performance in five months in the HSBC
Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index.

China is the world’s top soybean importer.
Chicago Board of Trade July soybeans gained 23 cents,
or 1.5 percent, to $15.28-1/4 a bushel by 10:53 a.m. CDT (1553
GMT) after earlier hitting a contract high of $15.36-3/4, the
loftiest level for a spot contract since July 2013. The
August and September contracts also posted contract highs.
CBOT July corn added 1-1/4 cents, or 0.3 percent, to
$4.75-3/4 a bushel, holding above its 200-day moving average of
Soybeans’ gains lifted corn as the ratio between the
new-crop November soybean contract and the new-crop
December corn contract, which could influence farmers’
planting decisions this spring, widened to its highest of the
Comfortable global wheat supplies and stiff competition in
export markets for U.S. supplies dragged wheat futures lower,
with CBOT July wheat shedding 7 cents, or 1.1 percent, to
$6.57-1/4 a bushel.
Technical selling below the contract’s 200-day moving
average of $6.58 a bushel dragged prices to the lowest since
March 11.

May 21, 2014

Soybeans rebound on tight U.S. stocks, persistent demand

CHICAGO, May 21 (Reuters) – U.S. soybean futures jumped more
than 1 percent on Wednesday in a bargain-buying bounce from the
prior session’s steep declines and on concerns about tight U.S.
supplies ahead of the autumn harvest.

Corn futures were mixed after sinking to an 11-week low
earlier in the session, weighed down by this week’s rapid U.S.
planting pace and adequate old-crop supplies.

May 20, 2014

Soybeans climb on thin U.S. supplies, surging soymeal

CHICAGO, May 20 (Reuters) – Soybean futures climbed for a
second day on Tuesday, supported by razor-thin U.S. supplies
ahead of the next harvest and soaring soymeal prices.
Corn futures slumped for a fifth straight session and
notched a 2-1/2 month low as good Midwest weather accelerated
planting progress following early-season delays.
Hard wheat futures clung to early-session gains on eroding
winter crop conditions and slower-than-expected spring crop
planting progress, but soft red winter wheat failed to hold
gains on slow export demand and adequate global supplies.
Soymeal futures posted across-the-board contract highs as a
lack of crushing supplies over the coming months were expected
to force some processors to halt production despite strong
domestic and export demand.
“We’ve got about a 14-day supply of soybeans, based on
USDA’s latest report. If we don’t slow down exports and don’t
bring imports in, it’s probably more like 10 days,” said Mike
Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics.
Chicago Board of Trade July soybeans rose 8-3/4 cents,
or 0.6 percent, to $14.94 a bushel by 10:57 a.m. CDT (1557 GMT)
after earlier climbing above $15 a bushel for the first time in
2-1/2 weeks.
July soymeal gained $7.30, or 1.5 percent, to $497.80
per ton after earlier hitting a contract high of $499.10.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture late said on Monday that
U.S. soybeans were 33 percent planted as of Sunday, short of the
average mid-May pace of 38 percent planted.
Corn seeding has accelerated despite recent rains, and
warmer and drier weather this week will further speed planting
progress. USDA said the corn crop was 73 percent planted as of
Sunday, just behind the seasonal average of 76 percent.
July corn futures fell 2 cents, or 0.4 percent, to a
2-1/2 month low of $4.75-1/4 a bushel after sinking below its
100-day moving average of $4.76-1/2. Traders are eyeing the next
support level around $4.73 a bushel, the 200-day moving average.
Deteriorating winter wheat crop conditions and delayed
spring crop seeding fueled early-session strength in wheat, but
the markets failed to hold the gains as sluggish export demand
and abundant global wheat stocks weighed on prices.
USDA said on Monday that winter wheat, stressed by dry
conditions in the U.S. Plains was rated just 29 percent good to
excellent, down 1 percentage point from a week earlier.
The USDA also reported spring wheat planting was 49 percent
complete, behind expectations for 52 percent.
Chicago Board of Trade July wheat futures fell 4-3/4
cents, or 0.7 percent, to $6.69-3/4 a bushel, the contract’s
ninth decline in 10 sessions. July hard red winter wheat
was up 1/4 cent at $7.69 a bushel, while Minneapolis spring
wheat was 1-3/4 cents higher at $7.40-1/2 a bushel.

Prices at 10:59 a.m. CDT (1559 GMT)

CBOT corn 475.50 -1.75 -0.4% 12.7%
CBOT soy 1493.75 8.25 0.6% 13.8%
CBOT meal 497.80 7.30 1.5% 13.7%
CBOT soyoil 40.09 -0.33 -0.8% 3.3%
CBOT wheat 669.75 -4.75 -0.7% 10.7%
CBOT rice 1530.00 -2.50 -0.2% -1.4%
EU wheat 199.00 1.75 0.9% -4.8%

May 16, 2014

Grain group urges pit trade halt if CME electronic platform crashes

CHICAGO, May 16 (Reuters) – CME Group should
temporarily suspend open-outcry trading if its electronic
trading platform crashes and reopen for a brief after-hours
session if the system is restored later that day, a grain
industry group said.

The call follows last month’s worst-ever outage on the
world’s top agricultural commodities exchange.

May 14, 2014

Trains for grains scarce on the U.S. Plains

By Karl Plume

(Reuters) – In the northern U.S. Plains, where there are no commercially navigable rivers, the U.S. rail system long has served as the lone, dependable way for farms to move grain hundreds of miles to reach ports and sell around the world.

Not any more. Farmers in North and South Dakota, Montana and Minnesota are holding the largest grain stocks in years after months of worsening delays that crippled the backbone of the U.S. farm transportation system. Rail operators blame the snarled service on the coldest winter in decades and changing freight flows.

May 8, 2014

Soybeans jump from 1-month low ahead of USDA monthly report

CHICAGO, May 8 (Reuters) – U.S. soybean futures rebounded
from three days of losses on Thursday and rose more than 1
percent in a technical and short-covering bounce as investors
squared positions ahead of a monthly crop report scheduled for
release on Friday.
Wheat futures retreated on profit-taking after hitting a
13-month high earlier in the week and as beneficial rains moved
across the U.S. wheat belt, while corn prices churned near
previous levels.
Attention was turning to Friday’s monthly U.S. Department of
Agriculture crop production and supply and demand reports, which
will include the government’s first winter-wheat production
forecasts of the season and might show a further tightening of
U.S. soybean stocks.
“A lot of the action today in beans is just shorts getting
out of the market ahead of Friday’s report,” said Rich Nelson,
chief strategist with Allendale Inc.
Chicago Board of Trade July soybeans jumped 18 cents,
or 1.2 percent, to $14.64-1/4 per bushel by 10:23 a.m. CDT (1523
GMT) after hitting a one-month low the previous day. The
contract tested technical support around $14.40 earlier this
week but was unable to break that level.
Persistent global demand for soybeans also underpinned the
U.S. soybean export demand has slowed seasonally as more
South American new-crop beans are available, but there have so
far been few cancellations of U.S. sales despite very tight
Meanwhile, Chinese customs data on Thursday revealed that
soybean imports in April were a larger-than-expected 6.5 million
tonnes, although analysts noted that shipments to the world’s
top importer should begin to slow.
“All the cargoes that Chinese importers booked aggressively
in the past months are arriving now, which is supporting prices,
but this is also creating a glut of beans,” said Vanessa Tan,
investment analyst at Phillip Futures.
“Going forward, let’s say from June onwards, imports should
start declining as importers are slowing down.”
Chicago wheat prices eased on improved weather in key U.S.
winter wheat areas and as traders exited long positions ahead of
Friday’s USDA report.
“The specs are big-time longs in the wheat market, so it’s
understandable ahead of first crop-size report of the season in
winter wheat, and after the (price) run we have had, it’s
understandable to get a consolidation, a bit of profit-taking,”
said Tom Fritz, a partner at EFG Group in Chicago.
Investors continue to monitor political tensions in Ukraine,
which helped propel prices to the highest in more than a year.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Wednesday on
pro-Moscow separatists in Ukraine to postpone a vote on
secession just five days before it was to be held, potentially
pulling Ukraine back from the brink of violent dismemberment.
Pro-Russian separatists on Thursday, however, defied Putin
and voted in favour of holding a referendum on independence.

CBOT July wheat fell 7 cents, or 1 percent, to
$7.30-3/4 per bushel in its steepest drop in a week. July corn
was 1/4 cent lower at $5.13-3/4 a bushel.