for the most part were left searching for direction Friday, in part to recent
weather developments but also as players awaited the latest commitments of
traders readings and exports figures from the US Department of Agriculture, all
delayed due to the US Shutdown.
The lack of
direction reflects similar sentiment in the base metals, which have struggled
since data this week showed house prices in September increased at their
strongest pace in almost three years.
Copper stood down 0.2% in late trade, cementing a 0.7% decline on the week.
By contrast gold was set finish the week up a solid
2.2%, lifted Tuesday in reaction to the weak September payrolls reading, touching it best level in a month
mixed sentiment in commodities equity sentiment remained upbeat, helped by
strong-than-anticipated durable goods orders, although preliminary consumer
The FTSE 100 finished
with a modest 0.1% gain. The US Dow
Jones Industrial Average and S&P500 Index both stood with similar gains in
The dollar also
finished with a moderate 0.1% gain.
December corn futures managed small gains for much of the
day but turned lower into late trade with futures
off less than 0.1% by the close, settling at $4.40 a bushel.
Very strong demand indicators this week have been
providing underlying support with futures also gaining some support as the US
harvest picks up pace.
"The weather should give producers an opportunity to
accelerate harvest through middle of next week, noted Paul Georgy of Allendale
Despite the demand indicators sentiment appears to be
shifting from bullish to bearish.
"Harvest yields on corn are larger to much larger than
the trade earlier thought," noted US Commodities Inc.
"Our bias is still negative for fundamental reasons,"
suggest analysts at Ehedger, noting "A breakout below $4.32 or above $4.51 may
produce a technical extension through those levels as corn breaks out of the
While demand expectations remain strong improving weather
forecasts for Argentina is another reason for the recent downwards shift in
price expectations with rains forecast for the middle of next week to see more
active corn planting in the drier areas.
"The weather pattern continues to improve in Argentina, suggest
US Commodities Inc., adding "Rain totals are expected to be 1-2 inches. This will aid corn planting and add needed
In addition to improving moisture forecasts weather
projections also suggest no threatening heat for the next fortnight.
As always though traders are not counting their chickens,
with one analysts suggesting, "This rain event will be closely watched".
While corn prices finished in the black wheat gradually
softened across the course of the afternoon, weighed in part by technical
offers, amid overbought chart signals after futures touched a four-month best
at the start of this week.
Speculation of higher exports from India was another
factor weighing prices after the India State Trading Corp announced Thursday it
was seeking to export 120,000 tonnes tons of milling wheat across November and
"Brazil's wheat demand remains solidly but the indication
India is entering the world market is a caution," commented US Commodities Inc
Societe Generale this week joined several others in
raising its price outlook for wheat, but has also cautioned, "wheat prices are
near their top".
December wheat futures stood down 0.8% at the close in Chicago at $6.90-6 a bushel.
By contrast to wheat soybeans are expected to remain
supported by strong export demand in the coming sessions.
"Soybean supplies are on the increase, but are dependent
on the South American weather, suggest US Commodities Inc, adding larger yields
would be "supported by the large demand".
While prices are supported short-term expectations of a
shift in plantings are expected to negatively impact soy prices.
"South America has every incentive to plant beans over
corn," suggest analysts at Ehedger.
A downwards shift by soybeans would also impact soymeal.
"If final yield in the US comes in at or above 42 and
South America producers a crop like last year, then we would assume we are
especially overpriced soymeal, added Ehedger.
November beans closed down 0.7%at $13.00 a
bushel in Chicago, soymeal contracts for December finished down a similar 0.6% after USDA figures showed soymeal exports were well above expectations.
Coffee bucks steadier softs
Sentiment amongst the soft commodities was as equally
Arabica coffee closed down 1.1% at 109.10 cents a pound amid expectations of a solid
harvest in Vietnam, which has been delayed by rains throughout the country over
the last couple of weeks.
"The production in Vietnam is expected to be very big and
traders expect more downward pressure on prices once the harvest starts to hit
the market," suggests Jack Scoville, analyst with Price Futures Group, adding "We
expect the harvest to total about 27m bags."
futures in New York down remained steadier however, settling with a 0.3% gain at 19.03 cents a pound.
Sentiment in sugar has swung sharply higher following a
fire Copersucar's sugar terminal in Brazil last Friday, paralyzing operations and
destroying some 180,000 tonnes of sugar.
December Cocoa closed with a solid 1% gain, at $2,713 a tonne in