A bit of a messy Friday really as markets ended the week sideways. Soybeans were still on the rise (+4.25 cents) but Corn closed a couple of ticks down while Wheat was up +1.00 cent in Chicago but down -1.75 cent in Kansas and -2.25 cents in Minneapolis. On the other side of the Pond, MATIF was up +€1.50 and London Feed +£0.70. CME EU was flat… Deadly flat unfortunately. The obituary is probably getting draft. It is still all about the weather, the soil dryness in the US, the South American weather, the cold snap in Europe, the snow layer in Black Sea. Funds sold 1,000 lots of Wheat, 1,000 lots of Corn and bought 9,000 lots of Soybeans.
Night session is green across the board, +6.00 cents for Soybeans, +1.50 cent for Corn and +4.75 cents for Wheat in Chicago (+5.75 cents in Kansas, +2.50 cents in Minneapolis). European market should also open higher as the spring is getting delayed as a cold snap and strong snow episodes are forecasted.
If Reuters was spot on on Wheat, it is another story for Corn and Soybeans. Indeed, on the CFCT COT (week ending Tuesday) it was shown that funds sold 10,208 lots of Wheat (10,000 estimated by Reuters, cannot get any closer to be fair!), increasing their short position to 67,039 lots. But on Corn and Soybeans, it was expected funds to be buyer (they were) of respectively 7,500 lots and 21,500 lots… They actually bought respectively 29,288 lots and 56,242 lots, bringing their long position to respectively 18,674 lots and 99,111 lots. The aggregated long between the three is now over 50,000 lots, a drastic change of picture! However, one interesting thing is that during the COT week, Corn moved actually down -0.34% and Soybeans up +1.46%. In other words, the short covering (well and long increasing) has been quite smooth, the rebound could have bene much more violent considering where the overall short was standing a few weeks ago. From Wednesday to Friday, funds are executed to have sold 2,000 Wheat and bought 2,000 Corn and 12,500 Soybeans.
The USDA Outlook Forum showed that soybeans surfaces are expected to be roughly at the same level as last crop, with 90M acres (90.1M acres on the previous harvest), on a 48.5 bushels per acre yield, so a lower crop of -1.59MT to 117.93MT. Corn will also be marginally lower to 90M acres (90.2M acres last season), but yield is seen down to 174 bushels per acre. In other words, the first assessment of the crop is: -6.28MT to 364.68MT. It is obviously too early and trivial to start doing crop assessment… But the trend of soybeans acreage to be greater than corn seems definitely established. This was a little bullish but widely expected, so actually not such a big deal. Wheat areas is seen rebounding +1.09% to 46.5M acres on a better yield (47.4 bushels per acres) so here, a potential of 49.01MT of wheat, +1.64MT year on year. Cotton acreages are also seen higher, +5.56% from last season to 13.3M acres.
No major stat today. Tomorrow should be interesting with US Corde Drable Good Orders, CB Consumer Confidence and Fed Chair Powell is testifying. In the UK, it’s expected the Labour to change stance and plea for a very soft Brexit, appealing to stay in some kind of Customs Union with the EU (with a lot of rhetoric, “a” Customs Union versus “the” Custom Union). It is also an attempt to get Tories rebel on their side and try – once more time – to lead MP Theresa May to throw the towel and trigger a General Election. At some point, one can wonder, will Brexit actually happen? Market likes it as GBPUSD is rebounding +0.57% (around 1.4040) while GBPEUR is up +0.24% (around 1.1390). EURUSD us starting the week strong, trading above 1.2325 (+0.29%)