The one short-term hope for ag bulls of low commodity prices is if they unearth demand.
Is this happening in
Tobin Gorey at Commonwealth bank of Australia said that wheat prices "are now back near recent, and season, lows.
"Buyers have emerged at these levels several times in since late August."
He added that "worryingly there was no immediate sign of sign of that yesterday".
But that did overlook a purchase on Wednesday of 660,000 tonnes of wheat by Algeria’s state grains agency, OAIC, at prices from $210-212.50 a tonne, cost and freight included.
"The majority of the wheat is expected to come from France, but some volume may come from Argentina depending on the quality of its upcoming harvest," CHS Hedging said.
Agritel added that "considering the date of delivery," in January, "it is possible that some Argentinian wheat has also been retained" on top of French origin, with the South American country’s harvest supplies well in train by then.
Furthermore, Egypt’s Gasc grain authority is back in the market again, with its 14th tender for shipment this season.
Not that this is expected to go to French origin, or even US for that matter.
"Egypt is launching a tender today and once again Russia should be the most competitive," Agritel said.
But by how much? Are prices in other origins getting more competitive?
The latest on Russian values is that export prices fell marginally last week, by $1 a tonne to $192.50 a tonne from deep-sea ports, according to SovEcon.
More on the relative competitiveness of origins will be known with details of tenders to Gasc, revealed later.
More on grain demand will also be known later with US export sales data for last week, expected for wheat to come in at 250,000-450,000 tonnes, which would represent an improvement on the 174,961 tonnes the week before.
In early deals, Chicago soft red winter wheat futures for December edged 0.1% lower to $4.29 ½ a bushel as of 09:40 UK time (03:40 Chicago time).
Minneapolis spring wheat futures for December fared better, adding 0.3% to $6.12 a bushel, and provoking increasing ideas that they have found a floor around current levels.
"I can’t rule out the December trading below the $6.00-a-bushel level, but the fact that it won’t break below the current consolidation range has me starting to believe the market is cheap enough to cover needs," said Benson Quinn Commodities.
"It sure feels like the market finds some interest near the current levels or the sellers are respecting the fact that market won’t plunge to new lows."
, it nudged higher, but only by 0.1% to $3.48 ¾ a bushel, maintaining its knack for low volatility which has got trading houses worried where their profits will come from.
Indeed, Tregg Cronin at Halo Commodity Company noted that, as of Tuesday’s close, December corn at-the-money options volatility stood at 12.8%, down from 17.0% a week earlier.
"Said another way, there is a 68% chance" that corn ranges between $3.42-3.57 a bushel over the next 37 sessions.
"When one considers December corn could be in a $0.15-a-bushel range for the rest of the year, it really begins to temper marketing expectations and decisions."
Can US export sales data later can knock the grain out of its comfort zone? Sales are expected at 800,000-1.10m tonnes, compared with 1.59m tonnes last time.
, US export sales are expected at 1.30m-1.70m tonnes, compared with 1.75m tonnes last time.
Trade is "looking for big sales not only on seasonal basis but also looking for big buying ahead of the US Department of Agriculture report", ie the Wasde briefing last week, which actually unexpectedly lowered the US soybean yield forecast, and give futures prices a bit of a lift.
But one negative that the market is dealing with is weaker prices in China, the top importer, where January futures overnight set a fresh contract closing low of 3,721 ringgit a tonne on the Dalian, down 0.2% on the day, and 2.7% so far this week.
Indeed, Chinese ag futures as a whole were a little soft, despite an upbeat speech from President Xi Jinping, and data showing the country’s economic growth at 6.8% in the July-to-September quarter, meaning that the country is well on track to beat its full-year target of "around 6.5%".
, for instance, shed 0.2% to 5,548 yuan a tonne, fuelling a fall of 1.2% to 2,709 ringgit a tonne in Kuala Lumpur values of the vegetable oil, which were undermined by softness in
Still, the soy market also remains focused on Brazilian weather, and whether rains will arrive in time and in sufficient quantity to get sowings back on track.
"Brazil’s dry soybean regions remain a concern," CBA’s Tobin Gorey said.
Benson Quinn Commodities said: "Weather models hint at a shift to better moisture, but it has been slow to develop."
Chicago soybean futures for November eased all of 0.25 cents to $9.84 a bushel.
By Mike Verdin