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May 8, 2014

Barge shipments of Brazil soy bound for U.S. Midwest crushers -trade

CHICAGO, May 8 (Reuters) – Deep discounts for Brazilian
soybeans are creating an unexpected new market with U.S.
processors and animal producers far upstream in the heart of the
Midwest farm belt where the beans will be shipped on barges.

While light soybean imports by U.S. users along the Gulf and
East Coast are not uncommon, it has been nearly two decades
since South American supplies were unloaded at the Louisiana
Gulf and towed up the Mississippi River to inland processors.

Apr 29, 2014

Corn near 3-week high on slow planting; wheat gains

CHICAGO, April 29 (Reuters) – U.S. corn rose more than 1
percent on Tuesday, heading for the third straight session of
gains and nearing a three-week high as rains and cold
temperatures prevented farmers from planting in much of the
Midwestern crop belt, analysts said.
Wheat and soybeans also climbed at the Chicago Board of
Trade as speculative investors made bullish bets tied to adverse
weather conditions in the United States even as crop-friendly
rainfall fell elsewhere in the world.
Corn led the way higher after the U.S. Agriculture
Department in a report released after the close of trading on
Monday said spring plantings were behind schedule and below
analyst expectations.
“The planting figure may be up from last week but it is
still short of the five-year average,” said Vanessa Tan,
investment analyst at Phillip Futures. “The USDA data gives
further evidence of delays to the U.S. planting season this
U.S. farmers had planted 19 percent of their corn crop as of
April 27, behind the five-year average of 28 percent and the
average analyst estimate of 21 percent. More rains were moving
across the Midwest and southern Delta region on Tuesday,
stalling planting of corn, rice and soybeans until at least the
weekend, meteorologists said.
“If corn was 23-24 percent planted, the trade wouldn’t care
about this week’s weather,” said Mike Zuzolo, analyst at Global
Commodity Analytics in Indiana, adding that the USDA was likely
to report another behind-schedule planting figure next week.
Farmers who cannot plant were turning bullish on grain
prices, forcing ethanol and sweetener makers to bid up in
efforts to entice sales.
“The bull spread is very active. There is a cash pipeline
issue – it’s pretty tight right now,” Zuzolo said of the cash
corn market.
CBOT July corn was up 6-1/4 cents at $5.20 per bushel
while new-crop December futures gained 4-1/2 cents to
$5.14-1/4 as of 11:06 a.m. CDT (1606 GMT).
Most-active CBOT July soybeans were up 12-1/2 cents to

Wheat futures reversed earlier losses to turn higher as an
annual crop tour of fields started in top wheat-growing state of
Kansas. Early tour reports showed wheat plants partially damaged
from cold and dry weather, with recent rainfall helping to
mitigate drought conditions but coming too late to boost yields.
USDA on Monday reduced the condition of the wheat crop by 1
percentage point, to 33 percent good to excellent. That was well
below the five-year average of 49 percent.
Wheat futures were pressured overnight by showers in growing
regions in Australia and eastern Europe and news that Argentina
authorized an additional 500,000 tonnes in 2013/14 wheat
exports, bringing the official exportable surplus for the season
to 1.5 million tonnes.
CBOT July wheat was up 6 cents to $7.14-1/2 per bushel
while Kansas City Board of Trade July wheat jumped 11
cents, or 1.4 percent, to $7.97-1/2.

Apr 28, 2014

Wheat falls on profit-taking after 2-week high

CHICAGO, April 28 (Reuters) – U.S. wheat fell for the first
time in five sessions on Monday, declining from an earlier
two-week high as investors took profits and meteorologists
forecast crop-friendly rain in Asia, Europe and Australia,
analysts and traders said.
But the top wheat-growing region in the southern U.S. Plains
remained dry, buoying prices for the variety of the grain used
most widely in breadmaking ahead of an annual crop tour in re
“Globally, we’ve had really great weather in a lot of areas
- key rains in Australia, China and the FSU (former Soviet
Union),” said Austin Damiani, an analyst at Frontier Futures in
Minneapolis. “The big picture is that the world wheat prospects
are better today than last week. We still have supply concerns
in the U.S., but Chicago is trying to price in this global
Benchmark Chicago Board of Trade wheat for July delivery
eased 1 percent, or 7 cents, to $7.01-1/4 per bushel after
earlier hitting the highest level since April 16. Kansas City
Board of Trade July wheat was down only 3/4 cent at
$7.78-3/4 per bushel as of 11:01 a.m. CDT (1601 GMT).
KCBT wheat reflects the hard red winter wheat grown in the
southern U.S. Plains, an area suffering under severe drought. A
tour of crop fields hosted by the Wheat Quality Council kicks
off on Tuesday in Manhattan, Kansas, and will estimate
production for the HRW wheat crop on Friday.
The CBOT wheat contract is based on soft red winter wheat
grown primarily in the eastern U.S. Midwest and used in crackers
and cakes, but with the highest volume in global wheat
derivatives the contract more closely tracks global trends.
Political tensions between Ukraine and Russia – top grain
shippers from Black Sea ports – also underpinned grain prices.
CBOT July corn edged down 3/4 cent to $5.12 per bushel
after earlier hitting nearly a three-week high while soybeans
for July delivery rose 3-1/4 cents to $14.97-1/2.
U.S. President Barack Obama announced new sanctions against
seven powerful Russians with close ties to President Vladimir
Putin on Monday, freezing assets and imposing visa bans. The
United States also sanctioned 17 Russian companies in reprisal
for Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. The latest sanctions, which
followed measures taken when Russia annexed Crimea last month,
were aimed at dissuading Putin from fomenting a rebellion in
eastern Ukraine. The president said he was holding broader
measures against Russia’s economy “in
“If there is escalation in tensions, it may cut exports from
Ukraine and Russia,” said Vanessa Tan, an investment analyst at
Phillip Futures. “As of now, exports have not been impacted. But
going forward, there is risk as sanctions could bring financing
Growing areas in western Australia received widespread
weekend rains while showers were forecast for much of the next
10 days in Europe and FSU crop areas, improving soil moisture
for the wheat and corn crops there, the Commodity Weather Group
said in a note to clients.
Storm systems brought deadly tornadoes that killed at least
16 people in Arkansas, Iowa and Oklahoma. The storms also halted
fieldwork in much of the U.S. Corn Belt, delaying already
behind-schedule spring sowings.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is expected to show in a
report due after the close of trading on Monday corn plantings
at 21 percent complete, below the five-year average pace of 28
percent, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.

Soybean seedings were estimated 3 percent planted, below the
normal pace of 5 percent, according to the poll.

Apr 25, 2014

Football players are first college athletes to vote on union

CHICAGO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Football players at Northwestern University on Friday became the first U.S. student athletes to cast ballots in an election to decide whether to unionize.

The vote, which has the potential to upend college sports, was supervised by the U.S. National Labor Relations Board in a university building near the football field on the Evanston, Illinois, campus.

Apr 24, 2014

U.S. corn shipments hit record high despite China cancellations

April 24 (Reuters) – U.S. exporters last week shipped the
most corn in at least 24 years, government data showed on
Thursday, despite another round of canceled purchases by China
tied to a banned variety of genetically-modified grain.

More than 1.6 million tonnes of corn was loaded for shipment
during the week ended April 17 in the United States, the world’s
largest producer and exporter. That is the highest total in U.S.
Department of Agriculture records dating to 1990.

Apr 9, 2014

Mississippi River traffic may reopen Friday after barge hits Iowa bridge

April 9 (Reuters) – Mississippi River barge traffic could
reopen Friday at the earliest, government officials said on
Wednesday, a day after a barge struck a railroad bridge at
Sabula, Iowa, forcing the closure of a two-mile (3.2 km) stretch
of the country’s busiest waterway.

The U.S. Coast Guard was investigating damage to the
railroad bridge owned by Canadian Pacific Railroad Ltd
while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was traveling to the site
to survey the waters for any debris.

Apr 3, 2014

China rejections of U.S. corn top 1 million tonnes after latest data

April 3 (Reuters) – China canceled purchases of 221,400
tonnes of U.S. corn last week, the U.S. Agriculture Department
said on Thursday, bringing the total to more than 1 million
tonnes of corn rejected since November in a dispute involving a
biotech variety not approved by the No. 3 buyer of U.S. grain.

The corn cancellations come amid trade reports that China
also was suspending approval of shipments of dried distiller’s
grains, or DDGs, a corn-based ethanol byproduct used as animal

Mar 28, 2014

Wheat eases but set for weekly rise on U.S. drought

CHICAGO, March 28 (Reuters) – U.S. wheat futures fell 2.2
percent on Friday as investors awaited key U.S. planting and
stocks data but stayed on course for a small weekly rise as the
market worried about dry weather in the U.S. Plains.
Corn and soybeans inched higher in subdued trading in the
run-up to Monday’s spring planting and quarterly stocks
estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a data
release that often generates sharp price movements.
Wheat futures were headed for their biggest daily drop in 10
days, but rallies early this week had prices on track for their
fourth straight weekly gain. Investors made bullish bets on
concerns that drought will hurt wheat crops in major producing
states like Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, adding to recent support
from tensions between major grain exporters Russia and Ukraine.
But forecasts for some rain in parts of the U.S. grain belt
and the prospect of large global harvests in 2014 have acted as
a brake on wheat prices ahead of Monday’s USDA numbers.
“There are more-than-adequate supplies of old-crop coarse
grains, and we see the likelihood of another large global 2014
wheat and corn harvest,” David Sheppard, managing director of UK
merchant Gleadell, said in a note.
“However, as we have seen over the past few weeks, we should
never underestimate the power of politics and the impact of
perceived or real weather events.”
Wheat for delivery in May on the Chicago Board of Trade
was down 16-1/2 cents at $6.94 a bushel at 11:20 a.m. CDT
(1620 GMT).
Traders were also unwinding wheat and corn spreads, said
analyst Terry Linn of the Linn Group brokerage in Chicago.
“Some technical signals suggest we may have a top in the
spread,” Linn said. “Absolutely, that spread is a factor.
“The wheat market hasn’t broken down; we are just
consolidating in a range. We probably won’t break down in front
of the (USDA) number, but we have a shot across the bow.”
CBOT May corn was up 1 cent at $4.93 a bushel after
hitting a nearly three-week high of $4.96-1/4 on strong U.S.
exports. Corn is up 3 percent this week, its ninth increase in
10 weeks.
U.S. corn sales last week stood at 1.4 million tonnes, well
above analysts’ expectations that ranged from 525,000 to 725,000
tonnes, a USDA report showed.
Soybeans were up 3 cents at $14.39-1/2 per bushel and
on track for a weekly gain of 2 percent.
U.S. soybean export sales last week reached only 11,900
tonnes, near the marketing-year low hit in mid-February and
suggesting tight U.S. stocks may be curbing demand after brisk
demand so far this season.
Analysts expect Monday’s USDA report to show U.S. soybean
stocks by March 1 were 989 million bushels, which would be the
smallest since 2004.
U.S. corn stockpiles are seen at 7.099 billion bushels, the
biggest since 2010, and wheat stocks at a five-year low of 1.042
billion bushels.

Prices at 11:20 a.m. CDT (1620 GMT)

CBOT corn 493.00 1.00 0.2% 16.8%
CBOT soy 1439.50 3.00 0.2% 9.7%
CBOT meal 470.10 -0.40 -0.1% 7.4%
CBOT soyoil 40.56 0.13 0.3% 4.5%
CBOT wheat 694.00 -16.50 -2.3% 14.7%
CBOT rice 1548.50 1.50 0.1% -0.2%
EU wheat 210.25 -1.25 -0.6% 0.6%

Mar 25, 2014

Corn edges lower in consolidation ahead of USDA report

CHICAGO, March 25 (Reuters) – U.S. corn futures were
narrowly lower on Tuesday, easing after a steep climb in prices
in the previous session as investors squared positions ahead of
a major government crop report due next week.
Wheat also declined slightly while soybeans headed for
modest gains, with futures for each commodity trading in both
positive and negative territory at the Chicago Board of Trade.
“Every so often, the market needs to take a break and
consolidate,” said Bob Utterback, analyst at Utterback Marketing
in New Richmond, Indiana.
Closely watched analytics firm Informa Economics at midday
reduced its forecast for U.S. corn plantings to 93.029 million
acres and trimmed its soybean estimate to 81.204 million acres,
trade sources said.
The estimates came in advance of the U.S. Agriculture
Department’s annual spring plantings report slated for release
on Monday that will estimate how many acres U.S. farmers will
plant of each of the major crops.
“The market is just anticipating the March 31 report, and
that’s what we’re waiting for,” said Chris Manns, analyst at the
Traders Group in Chicago.
Corn and wheat futures had surged in the first session of
the week on worries that bitter winter conditions in the United
States could harm the wheat crop and delay corn plantings. But
investors were reluctant to expand positions ahead of the crop
report that typically results in wild gyrations in prices.
“We’re going to see a lot of evening up,” Manns said.
CBOT May corn fell 2-1/4 cents to $4.87-3/4 per bushel
while CBOT May wheat was down 1-1/4 cent at $7.13-1/4 per
bushel as of 11:02 a.m. CST (1702 GMT).
Soybeans for May delivery were 6-1/4 cents higher at
$14.31-3/4 per bushel.
Warmer weather was forecast in the U.S. Corn Belt while
rains were expected on Wednesday in the parched winter wheat
belt in the southern U.S. Plains, an agriculture meteorologist
Meanwhile, China has turned away more U.S. corn after
detecting an unapproved genetically modified strain in
shipments, with buyers waiting for sales from the country’s huge
state reserves or shifting to cheap grain from Ukraine.

Prices at 11:02 a.m. CDT (1602 GMT)

CBOT corn 487.75 -2.25 -0.5% 15.6%
CBOT soy 1431.75 6.25 0.4% 9.1%
CBOT meal 465.50 3.50 0.8% 6.4%
CBOT soyoil 40.97 0.13 0.3% 5.5%
CBOT wheat 713.25 -1.25 -0.2% 17.8%
CBOT rice 1542.50 -9.50 -0.6% -0.5%
EU wheat 213.25 -0.50 -0.2% 2.0%

Mar 24, 2014

U.S. ethanol’s premium to gasoline largest since 2011

CHICAGO, March 24 (Reuters) – U.S. ethanol futures climbed
in the sixth straight session on Monday, expanding their premium
to gasoline futures to the largest in 2-1/2 years as gridlock on
the nation’s railroads continued to slow shipments of the
grain-based biofuel, traders and analysts said.

Slow turnover of tanker cars has kept a lid on ethanol
production this year, with the ethanol stockpile last week
falling to the smallest since November and just above the lowest
levels in records dating back to 2010.