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Evening markets: corn prices revived by removal of cold air

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A late change in the weather forecast spared grains a drubbing on Monday, lowering the odds of a cold spell refreshing heat-bothered crops later this week.

In fact, many commodities performed relatively well on a difficult day for risk assets, with fears of a debt default on either side of the Atlantic sending Frankfurt and London shares down 1.6% and Wall Street stocks 1.0% lower in late deals.

Gold's

spurt to a record $1,603.61 (and more than £1,000) an ounce was perhaps not that surprising given the circumstances, and its status as the ultimate safe haven should the euro or dollar (or both) crumble.

But a rise in

copper

was more of a surprise, and showed some investors were prepared to view raw materials in a – relatively – favourable light, with fears for inflation being cited by some.

Weather change

Few farm commodities could similarly boast a positive close, New York

orange juice

being an exception, as it so often is, and edging 0.2% higher to 197.80 cents a pound for September.

The rise, juice's fifth successive positive close, comes amid concerns for dry weather in Florida reducing fruit size in America's top citrus state, especially now it appears that tropical storm Brent will miss the state.

And, in Chicago,

corn

recovered most of its early losses after updated weather models showed that weather outlook had not turned as farmer-friendly has had been expected, in terms of offering crops relief from a yield-threatening heatwave.

One model showed a cold front earlier expected to refresh much of the Corn Belt around July 20-21 making "absolutely no progress into central Wisconsin central Minnesota or central Michigan", WxRisk.com said.

"This is a major change from what the data was showing this morning.

"More importantly temperatures… are hotter than what the data showed this morning. The eastern Corn Belt is not going to get any relief from this cold front over the Great Lakes on July 20-21."

'Fighting weakening sentiment'

The change helped September corn recover from some 2.5% down to end 0.7% lower, at $6.96 ¼ a bushel.

The better-traded December lot closed down 1.2% at $6.77 a bushel.

"The market is fighting weakening sentiment in spite of continued heat and demand from China, with many feeling a further move to the upside is again getting ahead of ourselves," was how Matthew Pierce at PitGuru.

At Country Futures, Darrell Holaday said Chicago prices were "fairly" valued around current levels.

"This is clearly a weather market and there will be continued volatility. A rally of $.30 per bushel should be sold and a price break of $.30 should be bought," he said.

Weak exports

The weather change naturally helped

soybeans

too, which had the extra disappointment of poor weekly US export inspection data – a measure of how much of the oilseed is really leaving America.

Just 3.71m bushels were seen, down from 6.19m bushels a week before.

Chicago's August soybean lot ended down 0.25 cents at $13.85 ½ a bushel, having touched $13.70 a bushel earlier.

Tenders still coming

Wheat's

revival dragged it back from a loss approaching 3% in Chicago, for September delivery, to end down 0.8% at $6.89 ½ a bushel.

Tenders from Bangladesh and Jordan improved sentiment a touch as reminders of demand, even if Russia is competing so strongly as an exporter.

Jordan's apparent quest for high quality wheat gives other shippers a chance.

Bulls also got a boost from forecasts which, in Europe, showed that "much of Western and Central Europe will receive rains over the coming week, causing delays in field work, with Eastern Germany, Poland and Eastern Europe mostly affected", in the words of FCStone's Jaime Nolan.

"Yields have in large part now been established across Europe, but the impact on quality will remain our primary threat."

Black Sea splurge

Not that this helped European prices, which face a downer from a potential pick-up in imports from the Black Sea, after the European Union's decision to extend the suspension of tariffs on buy-ins.

"As the import tariff has been suspended until January 1 2012, the entire calendar year's quota of about 2.3m tonnes can be imported now - it's not split into its usual quarterly chunks," the UK grain arm of a major European commodities house said.

Analysis of licences implies that "just over 2m tonnes of Russian and Ukrainian wheat will be arriving in the EU by the end of September".

Paris wheat for November closed down 2.2% at E195.50 a tonne, while London wheat for November shed 1.8% to £162.00 a tonne.

By Agrimoney.com

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