April 17, 2014
Afternoon Recap will not publish April 18 as the markets will be closed in observance of Good Friday. We will return on Monday, April 21.
Corn and soybean futures closed slightly lower on Thursday as traders largely focused on balancing accounts ahead of the three-day weekend, particularly with weather forecasts favoring advances in spring planting over the Easter weekend and into next week.
Winter wheat futures finished higher for the day and for the week, lifted by a frost early in the week in the central and southern Plains and later by increased tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
U.S. markets will be closed on Good Friday.
Corn closed at its lowest since late March. Forecasts for normal to above-normal temperatures in the Midwest next week along with minimal rain should mean swift progress on planting.
Forecasts by Commodity Weather Group showed dry weather should prevail over broad swatches of the Midwest the next two weeks.
Corn planting was 3% done last week and likely made some progress this week.
Weekly exports for old-crop corn at 23.7 million bushels were in line with expectations, while the new-crop business was slightly better. However, the focus now is on how quickly the crop can be planted rather than on exports.
Chicago May corn closed down 3-1/4 cents at $4.94-3/4 and new-crop December slipped 2-1/4 to $4.96-3/4.
What to Look For – Planting progress in USDA's weekly crop progress report on Monday.
Soybeans closed lower on Thursday, but a late recovery pulled them off the day's low to finish higher for the week. There were significant gains on Tuesday and Wednesday after a larger-than-expected March crush.
On Tuesday, the National Oilseed Processors Association reported the March soybean crush at 153.84 million bushels of beans, much more than expected, and up 8.6% from February and up 12% from a year earlier.
Weekly exports on Thursday were in line with trade forecasts for old-crop supplies, while new-crop sales were slightly better than expected. China cancelled some old-crop purchases and bought new-crop.
The surge in domestic use coupled with this year's better-than-expected has put more focus on the low level of U.S. soybean supplies. Higher prices for soybeans and soymeal will either slow usage or prompt soybean imports.
Before the opening, Reuters reported that Chinese buyers may default on up to 1.2 million tonnes of U.S. and South American soybeans.
In Chicago, May soybeans closed down 4-3/4 cents at $15.14, after setting a contract high early of $15.31-3/4. November closed up 2 at $12.39-1/4.
What to Look For – High soybean prices could encourage more imports from South America, which is harvesting now. Soybean planting should start soon.
Hard red winter and soft red winter wheat finished higher for the day and for the week. Thursday's action was largely pre-weekend bookkeeping, while gains earlier in the week were linked to frost hitting parts of the hard red winter wheat belt.
Winter wheat came out of winter dormancy in weak condition because of drought and a frost would add to the crop's difficulties.
USDA crop reports late on Monday rated winter wheat 34% rated good to excellent, 34% fair, 20% poor and 12% very poor. That was slightly worse than the previous week. More than half of the Texas and Oklahoma wheat was rated poor to very poor.
Weekly exports on Thursday were a little better than expected at 16.1 million bushels for old crop and 13.22 million for new crop.
May SRW wheat closed up 3-1/4 cents at $6.91-1/4 and July rose 3-3/4 to $6.99. May HRW wheat rose 3-1/2 to $7.58 and July was up 4-1/4 to $7.65.
What to Look For – The crop in the Plains needs rain and warm weather. Near-term forecasts improved the chances for rain in the eastern Plains, while longer term outlooks favored below-normal precipitation.
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