DTN Closing Grain Comments

Soybeans Firm While Corn, Wheat Slip Lower

Todd Hultman
By  Todd Hultman , DTN Grains Analyst
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(DTN illustration by Nick Scalise)

General Comments:

Corn closed down 1 3/4 cents in the December contract and down 1 3/4 cents in the July. Soybeans closed up 4 cents in the January and up 3 1/2 cents in the July. Wheat closed down 4 1/2 cents in the December Chicago, down 3 cents in the December Kansas City, and down 3 1/2 cents in the December Minneapolis. The December U.S. dollar index is up 0.33 at 94.83. December gold is up $2.50 at $1,272.10 while December silver is down $0.03 and December copper is down 0.0745. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 23 at 23,437. December crude oil is up $1.17 at $53.81. December heating oil is up $0.277, December RBOB gasoline is up $0.0134, and December natural gas is down $0.095.

For the week:

December corn closed up 4 1/4 cents and July closed up 4 cents. January soybeans were down 2 3/4 cents while the July was down 3 1/4 cents. December Chicago wheat was up 1 1/4 cents, December Kansas City wheat was up 2 1/2 cents, and December Minneapolis wheat was up 5 3/4 cents.


December corn closed down 1 3/4 cents on low volume Friday, but was up 4 1/4 cents on the week, holding in its same narrow, sideways trading range of the past eight weeks. Friday's weather map saw snow in Minnesota and parts of Iowa, pushed in by a cold wind out of the northwestern Plains that is expected to bring even colder temperatures to the northern Midwest over the weekend. The seven-day forecast is mostly dry, however, so the wind will likely pose the biggest threat to standing crops. This week's new bearish threat for corn and wheat prices came from Thursday's new three-month high in the U.S. dollar index, which was extended higher on Friday. The dollar's new popularity is largely the result of Europe's repeated commitment to keep its interest rates near zero and also to tensions between Spain and Catalonia. Traders continue to wait for President Trump's choice for the next Fed chair. On the demand side, corn exports remain slow, but early Friday, USDA said Spain bought 5.2 million bushels (132,000 mt) of U.S. corn for 2017-18. Technically, the trend in December corn remains sideways with plenty of bearish fundamental concerns to discourage potential buyers. DTN's National Corn Index closed at $3.07 Thursday, priced 43 cents below the December contract and is still holding above its August low. In outside markets, December crude oil traded at its highest prices in three months, in spite of this week's higher U.S. dollar index.


January soybeans closed up 4 cents Friday on higher volume, but were down 2 3/4 cents on the week. Futures spreads suggested commercial buying was behind Friday's higher price and modest gains were helpful in soybean oil and canola. Soybean prices also found help from USDA's news that China bought 8.7 million bushels (238,000 mt) of U.S. soybeans for 2017-18. Friday's snow in Minnesota and parts of Iowa may have caught some soybeans still standing in fields, but the gusty winds coming through the central Plains were probably more of a threat to crops. Meanwhile, central Brazil received some beneficial showers Friday with more expected next week. Technically, the trend in January soybeans remains up, but there has not been a new high in two weeks. With USDA expecting a record high 4.43 billion bushels of new soybeans, current U.S. supplies are plentiful, but demand is so strong that much is riding on the success of Brazil's next crop. DTN's National Soybean Index closed at $8.92 Thursday, priced 79 cents below the November contract and down from its highest price in over two months.


December Chicago wheat closed down 4 1/2 cents Friday, but held a 1 1/4 cent gain for the week. The week started with a strong show of bargain-hunting on Monday and might have gotten help from this week's forecast for sub-freezing temperatures in the southwestern Plains, but that bit of cold threat never did persuade traders. With USDA estimating 960 million bushels of U.S. ending wheat stocks in 2017-18 and U.S. wheat shipments running 6% below last season's pace, wheat prices were especially vulnerable to this week's new three-month high in the U.S. dollar index -- a fresh bearish development that makes future wheat exports even more difficult. Technically, the trend in Chicago wheat remains sideways with spot prices near their lowest level in 11 years. While surprises can always happen, the fundamental outlook remains bearish through winter. DTN's National SRW index closed at $3.94 Thursday, priced 38 cents below the December contract and holding above its August low. DTN's National HRW index closed at $3.57, also above its August low.

Todd Hultman can be reached at todd.hultman@dtn.com

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Todd Hultman