The Good: Corn futures took flight today, despite a poor performance in the wheat and soybean markets. Corn futures hit a new contract high in the March position at 4.56 per bushel. The driving factor today was strong export shipments of corn last week, which totalled 993,710 tonnes. China took nearly 350,000 tonnes of the total corn exports. A small sale of 149,572 tonnes was reported by USDA this morning. Markets have been concerned about the slow pace of corn exports versus sales, but a seasonal transition from soybeans to corn will take place in the Gulf export region over the next month. That should push corn export totals higher in the coming weeks.
The Bad: Well the recent wheat rally was good while it lasted! The wheat markets were pushed lower by the prospects for a resolution to Argentina’s port strike this week. Meanwhile, global wheat prices continue to rise in Russia and Europe as the impact of strong demand and limited supplies take hold. The impact of the Russian tariffs will eventually move prices in the region higher as the implementation date of February 15th approaches.
The Ugly: There was every indication that the soybean markets should move higher this morning. The forecast in South America was relatively dry, strong overnight sales were reported by USDA and weekly exports totalled 1.45 million tonnes in a holiday week. Soybeans bucked off the positive news and decided to move seven to eight cents per bushel lower. The good news is that there was no technical damage done to the March contract, which closed the day at US$12.57 per tonne.