Mark's Feed
Apr 17, 2013

Interim payment approved for Peregrine bankruptcy trustee

CHICAGO, April 17 (Reuters) – The trustee in charge of
returning funds to customers of scandal-ridden Peregrine
Financial Group will receive an initial payment of $1.23 million
for his role in unwinding the failed brokerage, a U.S.
Bankruptcy Court judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. bankruptcy code allows for the court-appointed trustee,
Chicago lawyer Ira Bodenstein, to receive a commission of up to
3 percent of the $123.3 million that has been returned to former
brokerage customers. The returned monies represents less than
one-third of the funds customers had deposited with the futures
broker when the firm collapsed and the accounts were frozen last

Mar 22, 2013

Higher volume expected, in time, after CME cuts grain futures hours

CHICAGO, March 22 (Reuters) – CME Group’s plan to
scale back its trading day for grain contracts will likely
provide a boost to volume and liquidity, but traders said it
will take time for investors to return to the market.

“I think if they compress the hours again … it serves the
needs of the customers that actually use this market,” said
Chris Robinson, senior trader at Top Third Ag Marketing. “I
think it is going to be good for the markets.”

Mar 8, 2013

U.S. farmers stick with corn planting plans despite price drop

* New crop price corn declined 7.1 percent in Jan/Feb

* Price drop second biggest of last 10 years

* Farmers locked in acres last fall with fertilizer

By Mark Weinraub

CHICAGO, March 8(Reuters) – Recent declines in U.S. corn
futures prices have failed to dent growers’ enthusiasm for
planting the feed grain this spring, even though soybean prices
have outperformed corn, farmers and analysts said.

Crop insurance guarantees, money spent on fertilizer and
recent rainy weather in key growing areas have cemented the
acreage decisions that farmers made in the fall.

Feb 26, 2013

U.S. livestock trading slows ahead of federal spending cuts

CHICAGO, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Trading in Chicago livestock
futures has declined this week as traders worry that furloughs
at the U.S. Agriculture Department, due to federal automatic
spending cuts, will disrupt cattle and hog marketings and price

At question is whether the furloughs will impact the
agency’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), which among other
things generates prices used as benchmarks for some livestock
contracts on the CME Group’s exchange.

Feb 13, 2013

CBOT wheat volumes rise in extended session, bucking trend

CHICAGO, Feb 13 (Reuters) – Volume in Chicago Board of Trade
wheat futures has received an unexpected boost since CME Group
extended the trading day, bucking an overall trend that
has seen volume in commodity trading dry up in the longer

Wheat volume rose to 17.6 million contracts traded from June
2012 through January 2013, up 14.8 percent from a year earlier.
Volumes were higher in seven of those eight months.

Jan 10, 2013

USDA’s inaugural midday crop report seen boosting CBOT volume

CHICAGO, Jan 10 (Reuters) – The U.S. Agriculture
Department’s inaugural midday release of monthly crop data on
Friday could result in heavier-than-usual midday trading in
Chicago grain markets as more investors will be at the ready
when the data goes public, traders said.

The USDA, which has been issuing its monthly reports at 7:30
a.m. CST (1330 GMT) for nearly two decades, decided last year to
push back the release to 11 a.m. CST (1700 GMT) when trading at
the Chicago Board of Trade grain markets is usually in full

Dec 18, 2012

Soybeans drop after U.S. export deals canceled

CHICAGO, Dec 18 (Reuters) – U.S. soybean futures extended
their losses on Tuesday morning, hitting session lows after the
U.S. Agriculture Department announced that China canceled a
purchase of 300,000 tonnes of U.S. supplies of the oilseed,
traders said.
Corn prices also fell, dragged lower by the weakness in
soybeans and low demand from end users on the domestic and
export front.
Wheat dropped amid calls for much-needed moisture in the
U.S. Plains.
USDA said the soybean cancellations also included 120,000
tonnes of supplies sold to unknown destinations in addition to
the 300,000 tonne deal that China, the world’s top buyer of
soybeans, scuttled.
At 8:30 a.m. CST (1430 GMT), CBOT January soybean futures
were down 25 cents at $14.71-3/4 a bushel. Prices for the
benchmark contract dropped below the 200-day moving average, a
key level of technical support, at $14.72-3/4.
CBOT March corn was 7-3/4 cents lower at $7.16-1/4 and
CBOT March wheat fell 4 cents to $8.04 a bushel.
Two major winter storms systems are set to sweep through
much of the U.S. Plains and Midwest over the next two weeks
leaving welcome soil moisture, said Don Keeney, agricultural
meteorologist for MDA EarthSat Weather.
Snowfall ranging from 2 to 4 inches could be expected
accompanied by some rain in this week’s storm and an even bigger
storm is expected next week.
“The six- to 10-day outlook is even more intense with 12.00
to 18.00 inches of snow in eastern Nebraska, Kansas and the
northern Midwest,” Keeney said.
January milling wheat in Paris was off 2.50 euros or
1 percent at 255.25 euros, with a firmer euro against the dollar
adding to downward pressure.
One European trader said there was a growing belief that
prices in Paris were not reflecting the good export outlook with
Russia and Ukraine out of the market and “now there is a growing
belief that poor harvest weather will also compel Argentina to
cut back on exports, too.”

Soybeans fell despite concerns over production shortfalls in
South America, with further unfavorable weather forecast.
Widespread rainfall moved across Argentina over the weekend
causing another slowdown in crop seedings and the rain is
expected to continue through Wednesday, Global Weather
Monitoring said.
Analysts remain concerned the window in which soybeans must
be planted to avoid yield losses is closing, further tightening
global stocks.
Estimates for the country’s 2012/13 soy harvest, which
should start in March, vary wildly. Government officials have
said they expect a crop of 55 million tonnes or more while
worst-case private estimates reach down to 45 million tonnes.

Nov 20, 2012

Possible Middle East truce pressures oil, gold

CHICAGO, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Oil fell more than 2 percent on
Tuesday, retreating from a one-month peak as investors took risk
premium out of the market after a Hamas official announced that
militants from the Gaza Strip and Israel had agreed to a
ceasefire brokered by Egypt.

Gold also fell, erasing early gains after
better-than-expected U.S. housing data, while grains firmed amid
concerns about tight supplies. Corn prices rose for the third
day in a row, hitting their highest level in more than a week.

Oct 26, 2012

Analysis: As ICE threat melts, ‘long, dull’ CME grain hours draw fire

CHICAGO (Reuters) – CME Group’s (CME.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) bid to cement its dominance in grain markets with longer trading hours may be backfiring, with some traders reducing activity and others including major merchant Bunge calling for a return to a shorter day.

Five months after the exchange moved to an uninterrupted 21-hour trading session for its Chicago Board of Trade agricultural contracts, overall volume in corn futures has fallen to the lowest level since December and is the lightest on a per-hour basis since March 2010, according to Reuters calculations based on CME data. Previously, the contracts had traded for 17 hours.

Jul 10, 2012

Rain to fall on parched Midwest by end of week: forecasters

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Corn and soybean fields in much of the Midwest will remain dry until the end of the week, with temperatures hovering in the 80s and 90s degrees Fahrenheit, forecasters predicted Tuesday.

However, the return of typical summer weather is unlikely to reverse the damage to corn and soybean crops caused by the crippling drought and heat wave that hit the Midwest during the past month.

    • About Mark

      "I cover grain futures out of Chicago, with a focus on the wheat market. Examining the effects of world crop production on prices and the vagaries of export demand for U.S. supplies takes up most of my time. Previously, I was a reporter on the equities desk in New York and I got my start as a news assistant in the Washington Bureau."
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