PRINTABLE VERSION   EMAIL TO A FRIEND   RSS FEEDS 18:55 GMT, Tuesday, 24th Dec 2013, by
Evening markets: corn, soy maintain record for festive gains

Shares kept up their champagne performance, hitting fresh record highs on Wall Street, but for grains sentiment was a lot less festive.

In a truncated trading session in many markets, equities found strength in US data which showed orders for durable goods jumping in November, and planned spending by companies on capital goods rising by the most in nearly a year.

New York's Dow Jones Industrial Average touched a record 16,360.60.

But while commodities overall managed a positive performance, with the CRB index adding 0.2%, grain buyers appeared to have broken up already for the Christmas break.

Egypt tender gap

Indeed, wheat only extended its dismal December performance in Chicago

The March contract closed down 0.5% at $.06 a bushel, the lowest finish for a spot contract since May last year, despite ideas from Macquarie that the grain may be poised for a strong start to 2014.

"Investors weighed prospects for lower prices to spur demand against an outlook for record global production," US Commodities said.

Egypt, the top importing country, did little to help the mood by saying it has enough in stock to last six months.

"Traders anticipate Egypt to begin tendering again in February," CHS Hedging said, meaning a gap in demand from that destination.

'No DDGs rejected'

Wheat's performance dragged on fellow grain corn but would it deny the yellow grain its usual seasonal gains.

March corn had closed higher both the day before and day after Christmas nine times in the previous 10 years.

And it managed the first leg at least this year by the slimmest of margins - closing up 0.25 cents at $4.34 a bushel

It was helped by better news from China, with the CNGOIC think tank saying that US shipments of the feed ingredient, a byproduct of corn ethanol manufacture, had not been interrupted, despite the rejection of some cargoes of the grain itself on grounds of containing a genetically modified variety unapproved in Beijing.

"Traders reported they had not heard of any US DDGs being rejected," CHS said.

Soymeal lead

That was a help to soymeal too, with DDGs an alternative protein source in feed.

Soymeal regained 0.5% to $432.10 a short ton for March delivery.

That in turn helped soybeans themselves gain 0.2% to $13.22 a bushel for March, and by 0.4% to $13.33 a bushel for January, maintaining their own knack for festive headway.

In the previous decade, January beans have closed higher the day before Christmas nine times and the day after eight times.

Soybean orders

Egypt was helpful to the oilseed too, in buying 114,000 tonnes for 2013-14, with a further 65,000 tonnes announced to "unknown" destinations, which took a further 120,000 tonnes for next season.

The Argentina weather outlook remained stable, with weather expected hot for this week, but showers forecast for next week.

The oilseed also received help from ideas that not all crushers may not have large stocks, talk of which was a headwind to soybeans in the last session.

Allendale noted many end-users "saying they have enough inventories through mid-January".

However, one central Illinois processor has been "holding soybean bids at $0.10 a bushel over the January futures", the broker said.

Mixed softs

Among soft commodities, robusta coffee dropped 0.8% to $1,691 a tonne in London for March delivery, undermined by ideas that Vietnamese exports, while still down this month, may beat market expectations.

That weighed on arabica coffee too, which dropped 0.9% to 114.75 cents a pound in New York for March.

But cocoa for March ended up 10% at 1,809 a tonne in London, its intraday high, and a two-year high for a spot contract, continuing to gain support from ideas of a persistent production shortfall.

As Macquarie noted, cocoa is the only major agricultural commodity "expected to be in an outright deficit" next year. wishes its readers, in more than 170 countries, a very happy Christmas holiday.

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