So who will eat at Thanksgiving, and who at Christmas?
After all, if the bears have Thanksgiving dinner, the bulls
have a Christmas feast, and vice-versa, the goes the Chicago saying (although
it does have many versions).
But neither side looked to have got their teeth into much on
Thanksgiving Eve itself, with low pre-holiday trading volumes failing to bring the
volatility some had feared.
On the macroeconomic front, concerns about Greece were
balanced by news of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, which enabled a more
positive tone in financial markets, helping Wall Street shares stand 0.3%
higher in late deals.
'Weather is ideal'
And much of the news in grain and oilseed was balanced too.
Take soybeans, which
suffered the bear point of rains arriving in Brazil next week, boding well for
sowings of the oilseed in areas such as Rio Grande do Sul, where soil is in
need of rains, consultancy Somar said.
"Brazil weather is ideal," Richard Feltes at RJ O'Brien
However, that is not the case in Argentina "given a
reversion to the wet pattern" which has prevented farmers getting onto fields
and sowing crops.
"Trade believes Argentina crop production is dropping 3m-5m tonnes,"
US Commodities said.
Furthermore, rumours of China buying soybean cargoes proved
true, with the US Department of Agriculture announcing the sale of 120,000
tonnes of the oilseed to the top importing country.
China also bought 20,000 tonnes of soyoil, with 56,000 tonnes of soyoil also going to unknown destinations.
"Exports continue to be the bright spot in the soybean
complex. The soyoil exports the past week has given the soybean complex support,"
US Commodities said, terming the latest exports "all somewhat positive".
In fact, soyoil managed a positive close, up 0.4% at 48.53
cents a pound for December delivery, but soybeans themselves found headway more difficult, easing 0.3% to
$14.08 ¾ a bushel for January.
did a little worse still, dropping 0.4% to $427.90 a short ton, in tune with a
recommendation from Societe Generale of the vegetable protein's value being
undermined by high inventories.
SocGen was more ambivalent about corn, raising its price forecasts, but to levels in line with the
And the grain did little on Wednesday to suggest a higher
rating was in order, shedding 0.4% to $7.41 a bushel.
The grain was pressed by ethanol data which - while not
quite as downbeat as they seemed, in showing a jump in inventories despite
lower production and imports - were a touch bearish.
The fall in production part at least was seen as an accurate
reflection of the underlying market, and signalled that corn use by bioethanol
plants in 2012-13 could fall below the 4.5bn bushels that the USDA is
'Key technical resistance'
Furthermore, corn fluffed a key technical battle in rising
above its 50-day moving average, above which it has not closed in more than two
months, only to fall back, depressed by the ethanol data.
"Fund activity will be determined by whether or not the corn
market can establish trade above the $7.47-7.48-a-bushel level," Benson Quinn
"Still watching the $7.46-a-bushel level on the December
corn. This is key technical resistance," Darrell Holaday at Country Futures
Corn got to $7.47 a bushel before its retreat.
It was left to wheat
to hold up the end for Chicago bulls, giving them a meagre Thanksgiving dinner
of a 0.25-cent rise to $8.45 ¼ a bushel for December delivery.
And this was hard fought, given the negative, although one that
had been anticipated, of the US failing to pick-up trade in an Iraqi tender, which
went to lower-priced Australian, Canadian and Russian supplies instead.
Furthermore, Russia's agriculture ministry raised its
estimate for the country's exports of grain, which is mainly wheat, by some
That was "a seemingly bearish development that the market is
electing to ignore", RJ O'Brien's Mr Feltes said.
Investors were helped in doing so by forecasts for further
dry weather in US hard red winter wheat country, boding ill for seedlings
already struggling against a lack of moisture.
"The weather outlook continues to support wheat values," Darrell
Holaday said, noting "very dry" weather in the run up to the dry outlook.
In Europe, Paris wheat for January edged 0.4% lower to
E269.25 a tonne, while London's May contract dropped 0.2% to £220.75 a tonne.
Among soft commodities, New York raw sugar for March closed down 1.3% at 19.64 cents a pound, as the
rally earlier in the week encouraged producer selling.
"The chat around the trade seems to be of Thai pricing just
above the market, starting around 20 cents a pound, and so it seems there is
little enthusiasm for fresh longs around present levels," Thomas Kujawa at
broker Sucden Financial said.
That said, SocGen did its bit for sugar bulls, by rating a
long bet on the March contract among its top commodities trades, citing "production
risks and strong demand in Asia".
ditched its volatile ways for a close up 0.7% at 153.45 cents a pound for March
delivery, as the expiry process began on the December lot.
"After yesterday's big day, today seemed exactly like a first
notice day ahead of a [US] holiday, and although New York will reopen Friday,
for some their books are closed for the week."