Importers may have gone off US cotton.
US weekly export sales of the fibre dropped below 28,000
running bales, a figure deemed worse than disappointing by the trade, sending
new crop December futures two a two-year low of 73.71 cents a pound in New York
before they staged some recovery to end at 74.63 cents a pound, down 0.8%.
But importers can't get enough US soybeans.
US export sales of old crop soybeans hit 317,200 tonnes,
twice the highest estimate, and putting the US in even more of a pickle if it
is to satisfy all the demand out there.
US supplies are already forecast by the USDA as on course to
end 2013-14 at the tightest, compared with consumption, on records going back
to the 1960s.
'No sign of relief'
And that assumes that importers will actually not end up
taking all the US soybeans they have ordered, at least not this season.
"Trade knows that old crop soybean cancellations are
inevitable, although there is no sign of relief as yet," said Richard Feltes at
RJ O'Brien, noting that old crop US soybean sales exceed the USDA's full-season
forecast by 71m bushels.
"Large old crop soybean sales were a bit surprising to the
market," CHS Hedging said.
At Citigroup, Sterling Smith said that "old crop soybean export
sales were a surprise to the upside, the
best number seen for the old crop since February.
"While this is likely a onetime event it did catch the
market by surprise and did lend some strength to the nearby contracts."
Indeed, old crop July soybeans outperformed, in adding 1.5%
to $14.37 a bushel, retaking their 100-day moving average.
The new crop November lot added 1.2% to $12.44 ¼ a bushel,
its best finish of the month, and getting back above its 50-day moving average.
The complex was also helped by soymeal, which for July soared 3.1% to $465.50 a short ton.
Soymeal export sales, at a combined 253,000 tonnes old crop
and new combined, were strong too, well ahead of expectations.
'Looks a bit rough'
Corn export sales
were also respectable, especially for old crop at 321,000 tonnes.
"Old crop US corn sales are 97% of the USDA's full-season
forecast with 9.5 weeks remaining in the marketing year," RJ O'Brien's Richard
And there remain some concerns over the dampness of northern
parts of the US too to help futures build some cushion above multi-month lows.
"The weather outlook looks a bit rough for much of the
Midwest over the next four to five days as rain events roll through," CHS
undermine crop ratings'
It should also be noted that there are plenty of
commentators believing that the outlook for US crops remains, overall, pretty
good, with the rains boosting prospects for crops for which have not received
Still, looking short term, Mr Feltes highlighted that "another
round of 2-5 inch weekend rains expected across the saturated north west
Midwest that may further undermine crop ratings next Monday".
And did the crop actually get planted? While investors are
looking to key US data on Monday to provide some answers, a survey by Roach
suggested that US corn sowings had fallen below 90m acres for the first time in
That is well below figures that Monday's report is expected
to come out with.
New crop corn for December added 0.7% to $4.43 ¼ a bushel,
while the July contract edged 0.4% higher to $4.42 ¾ a bushel.
'Just can't catch a
Corn's performance was a help to wheat futures too, as is poor weather, with southern US rainfall
delaying the winter wheat harvest and raising fears of quality losses, with
ripe grain vulnerable to sprouting and protein loss.
"Wheat just can't
catch a break," CHS Hedging said.
"Rain is in the forecast for parts of the hard red winter
wheat areas, further hindering harvest and adding to quality concerns."
In the Midwest soft red winter wheat area, "rain delays are
causing support" to prices too, US Commodities said.
Still, as to the big question over whether rainfall is proving
a help or hindrance to spring crops in the north of the US and Canada, more
will be known on Friday when Statistics Canada unveils estimates for domestic
While this year's "Canadian wheat area will shrink, there is
no shortage of moisture suggesting another potentially large crop," Mr Feltes
Amid the uncertainty, Chicago soft red winter wheat for
September edged 0.5 cents higher to $5.84 ¾ a bushel.
Kansas City hard red winter wheat did a little better, up
0.2% at $7.15 ¼ a bushel for September.
Spring wheat itself nudged 0.1% higher to $7.21 ¾ a bushel
Back in New York, raw
sugar gained 0.6% to 18.73 cents a pound for October delivery as Datagro
kept the renewed fears over dryness in Brazil's Centre South going.
After Unica on Wednesday cautioned against interpretations
that a pick-up in cane harvesting was sustainable, flagging damage from dryness
to crops, Datagro cut by 900,000 tonnes to 32.3m tonnes its forecast for Centre
South sugar output, about 90% of the Brazilian total.
The estimate for the Centre South cane crop in 2014-15 on an
April-to-March basis, was cut by 14.1m tonnes to 560.5m tonnes.
"Some mills have decided to not even bother to harvest [drought
damaged] cane and leave it in the field until the start of the 2015-16 season
in April," said Plinio Nastari, the Datagro president.
World deficit revision
All this supported an increase to 2.46m tonnes, from 1.61m
tonnes, in Datagro's forecast for the word global sugar production deficit in
2014-15 on an October-to-September basis.
"The drop in output from Brazil, as well as in other
major producers such as Thailand, due to dry weather will create a bigger world
deficit in sugar," Mr Nastari said.