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|Evening markets: OJ bucks commodity rout
By James Moore - Published 26/10/2012
Wheat lost some ground Friday but still closed higher for a second week amid ongoing weather related supplies concerns from top exporters.
The steady tone to wheat bucked the wider trend however, which saw the CRB Index down some 0.5% by the close.
Equities also struggled for traction despite better than expected growth reports from the US as initial estimates showed the US grew by 2.0% in July-September quarter, more than the 1.9% forecast.
The UK FTSE 100 Index closed down fractionally; in the US the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 0.1%, the S&P500 lost a further 0.4%.
Europe's burgeoning deficits were once again a source of market concerns after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble reportedly said there are doubts on whether Greece will meet requirements for its European bailout.
Ongoing developments in the US east coast weather patterns also gave markets food for thought due to hurricane Sandy, dubbed "Frankenstorm", which is scheduled to make landfall around Halloween.
Hurricane Sandy has already claimed 29 lives in the Caribbean.
As of 11:00 EDT the centre of hurricane Sandy was approximately 450 miles south-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, according to the US National Hurricane Center.
Hurricane related risk premium has bolstered orange juice prices in recent sessions, amid concerns of damage to orange groves in Florida.
"Certainly it's a concern and that's why the market is reacting the way it is," suggested Keith Flury, Senior Commodity Analyst Keith at RaboBank.
Orange juice futures for November delivery settled up almost 1% at 112.5 cent a pound.
However with the recent decline in OJ sales in the domestic market there appears to be some skepticism as to the impact of hurricane Sandy and its impact on OJ production.
"If everything comes off with little impact this risk premium will come off," suggested Flury.
Despite the impact of Hurricane Sandy, WTI crude oil closed softer with December futures down 0.3%. By contrast Brent crude finished up 0.3%.
Weather, weather, weather
Weather related jitters helped underpin wheat futures for much of the day before dipping into negative territory towards the close on end of week squaring. Concerns have increased that adverse weather that could further tighten supply from leading exporters.
"It is the lower Australia wheat crop due to the dryness, the wet weather in the Argentine wheat crop and the Ukraine backing out of the export market.... that is supporting wheat," stated US Commodities.
Wheat futures rallied strongly Thursday with Chicago futures for December climbing some 1.8% after Ukraine farm minister's confirmation of a wheat export ban from November 15.
Futures saw a positive start Friday however prices slipped into negative territory towards the end of the day as book squaring emerged.
Chicago wheat for December delivery settled down 0.1% at \$8.73 ¾ a bushel.
While the effects of the US drought have had a greater implication for corn and soybean prices wheat could be about ready to "step out of the shadows", according Barclays Capital.
"Global wheat inventories, which just a while ago were viewed as more than comfortable, have been dipping," suggests Barclay's analyst Sudakshina Unnikrishnan.
In addition to the Australia, Argentina and Black Sea supplies, US domestic supplies will be in the spotlight with the US due to undertake its first national winter wheat rating for the year shortly.
"Initial estimates suggest the [rating] comes in below average with prospects for further slippage into Nov on overall dry tone to HRW forecasts that have 10% of area critically dry and 50% of area registering sub-par moisture going into winter dormancy," suggests Richard Feltes.
Soybeans and corn futures lost more however, pressured by weak export figures and the prospect of record South American soybean crop.
Weekly USDA (US Department of Agriculture) export figures showed below estimate weekly sales of both corn and soybeans. Corn sales totalled 142,400 tonnes, compared with an estimated 150,000-250,000 tonnes. Soybean sales were 522,200, versus estimates of 650,000-850,000 tonnes.
December corn closed Friday down 0.4% around \$739 in Chicago, soybean futures, for November delivery posted a similar 0.4% decline settling at \$15.58 a bushel.
Soft commodities ran into even heavier pressure amid bearish fundamentals and technical selling.
New York cocoa futures for December were down \$19 at the close at \$2,388 a tonne having breached key technical support located around the 100-day moving average at \$2,391.
Raw sugar futures in New York touched a one-month low after reports India may double its import tax on white sugar. ICE March sugar futures were down 0.13 cents having been as low as 19.28 cents a pound.
ICE arabica futures for December finished down over 2%, settling around 157.60 cents a pound.
In London, robusta for January delivery was slightly steadier, settling down 1.4% at \$2,028 a tonne
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