The, generally upward, direction which markets found in the last
session waned on Friday, leaving more the kind of drift which might be expected
in the absence of influence from the US.
The boost to assets from positive Chinese factory data
waned, leaving something of a void before the US comes back online, in a
reduced form, later.
(On the Chicago Board of Trade, agricultural commodities
will trade shortened hours, although New York softs are already trading again.)
Japanese markets were closed on Friday.
Against that background, crops showed something of a mixed
They were generally firm in China, continuing to receive
support from the HSBC survey showing growth in the country's manufacturing
sector for the first time in 13 months.
Corn for May
added 0.6% to 2,440 yuan a tonne, and the soybean
complex gained across the board, although there are doubts about how long gains
will last, given negative margins among crushers.
"China's plans to stockpile soybeans in order to raise
income for its farmers will provide some support but only in the short term,"
Lynette Tan at Phillip Futures said.
"Demand for livestock," the main consumer of soymeal, one of the two main products,
with soyoil, derived from processing
soybeans, "is likely to decrease after the festive Chinese New Year in early
February next year".
Still, for now, soybeans for May added 0.6% to 4,773 yuan a
tonne, soyoil 0.2% to 8,548 yuan a tonne and soymeal 1.4% to 3,234 yuan a tonne.
Palm down, again
In Kuala Lumpur, February palm oil, soyoil's main rival in the vegetable oil complex, and an
alternative for many uses, shed 1.0% to 2,386 ringgit a tonne as of 08:45 UK
That left palm oil on course for a third successive lower
close, although it remains some way above last week's three-year low of 2,220 ringgit
The vegetable oil continues to be undermined by weak
Malaysian exports so far this month, as revealed by cargo surveyor data,
questioning ideas that lower prices would spark demand.
In New York, cotton
for December returned from its Thanksgiving holiday a little sluggish, easing
0.3% to 72.19 cents a pound.
The contract lacked the chutzpah, for now at least, to take
on key technical resistance levels, with the 50-day moving average at 72.56
cents a pound, and the 100-day at 73.03 cents a pound.
However, raw sugar for March bounced 1.2% to 19.88 cents a pound,
gaining better support from a weaker dollar
- whose decline makes dollar-denominated exports more affordable – and from a
firm performance by London white sugar on Thursday.