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Evening markets: corn rally outpaces Turnaround Tuesday

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Corn was too big even for Turnaround Tuesday.

By Chicago lore, a strong trend in futures on a Monday is reversed the next day. And the turnaround axiom worked up to a point this time, sending wheat lower, for instance.

But an early slide in corn, of even some 5 cents a bushel, proved too tempting for buyers worried above the thin US inventories, even though the grain had already gained some 15% over the last week.

"Everybody and their dog wants to buy corn on a correction and that is why the dip early this morning was immediately met with buying," Darrel Holaday at Country Futures said.

The rebound took the grain not just back to its opening level, not just back to matching its record high, as in the last session, but to a fresh record of $7.70 ¾ a bushel for the near-term May lot.

'Panic buying'

And this despite fresh cautions that the grain was, technically, a sell, in the short-term at least.

"The corn market is now as overbought as it was oversold on the Tsunami break ending March 17," broker US Commodities said, advising clients "don't turn bullish here".

Mr Holaday said: "The reality is that corn is overbought. But when you are trying to ration a defined tight supply, the market can negate these technical signals.

"It will correct when the panic buying is complete and not until then."

The market is, after all, reacting to the fact that stocks as of March 1 were 170m bushels short of investor expectations, with half the 2010-11 crop year to go, and at a time when inventories were already deemed uncomfortably tight.

'Too high, but too strong'

At North America Risk Management Services, Jerry Gidel said the rally might reached the fabled land of $7.95-8.00 a bushel before the overselling kick really hit.

"At these levels, corn is too high to buy, but too strong to sell," he added.

It closed at $7.66 ¾ a bushel For May, up 0.9%, although the new crop December lot scraped a rise of a mere 0.2% to$6.46 ¾ a bushel.

More China fears...

Even so, the contract still gained further ground against its rival for US acres, November


, which closed down 0.7% at $13.78 ¾ a bushel.

The oilseed was put out of fashion by further hiccups in China, the top buyer, which raised its interest rate by one-quarter of a point, raising concerns over slower economic growth and a slowdown in import demand over which investors are already apparently detecting a fading pulse.

The rate rise "has tempered interest in soybeans today as the buying interest for US soybeans out of China has waned lately", Mr Holaday said.

The old crop May lot finished 0.8% lower at $13.73 ¼ a bushel.

In the price

Corn made ground on Chicago


too, closing a gap of nearly $0.30 a bushel to less than $0.20 a bushel by the finish, and getting ever closer to, potentially, a historically highly unusual state of parity between the grains.

Although data overnight showed the US winter wheat crop in its worst condition for seven years, this decline had been factored into prices in Monday's rally, traders said. Especially with Turnaround Tuesday to face down.

And while Informa Economics analysts cut estimate for US winter wheat production by 35m bushels to 1.50m bushels, prices had taken account of that too. Some analysts see winter wheat output falling below last year's 1.49m bushels.

Chicago's May lot closed down 0.5% at $7.86 ¼ a bushel, although Kansas wheat, the hard red winter variety over which condition fears are focused, added 0.2% to $9.50 a bushel.

'Wild action'

Two other crops starting co did well too.


soared 4.8% to 268.25 cents a pound in New York for May delivery, in a rebound deemed technical, with funds covering shorts before the lots' expiry process kicks in on April 20.



rebounded 2.8% to 201.06 cents a pound for May, and 1.2% to 137.76 cents a pound for new crop December lot, (which is competing against the likes of corn and soybeans for US spring sowings ground).

"Cotton, even with the spreads coming in, and with the new crop strong and the front, old crop backing off, there still is a chance for some wild action before Friday's option expiration," Jurgens Bauer at PitGuru said midway through the trading day.

But the other "co" commodity,


, did less well, shedding 1.5% to $2,975 a tonne in New York for May delivery, amid signs of an – albeit forced- resolution to the crisis in Ivory Coast, the top producing country.


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