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Evening markets: crops sway to end of 'magic May'

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Crops wobbled a little towards the end of “magic May”, as one trader called it, but a weaker dollar at least helped US-traded commodities keep their noses ahead.

Sure, it was a somewhat disappointing Friday in Europe, with the strength of sterling and the euro against the dollar leaving traders unimpressed.

London wheat for July ended £1.00 lower at £121.50, with Paris wheat for August off E0.25 at E151.50 a tonne.

Rapeseed slipped E0.75 to E318.25 a tonne for August delivery, and it wasn’t just cereals and oilseeds that suffered. London cocoa ended £10 lower at £1,693 a tonne, leaving it 4.6% down on the month.

'Bulled up'

But it was a different story in dollar commodities. Certainly, some traders groused that grains failed to live up to what appeared their potential at the opening of live trading in Chicago, and failed to hold on to day highs.

“Many traders are ‘bulled up’ on the sharp sell-off in the dollar index today,” Vic Lespinasse at GrainAnalyst.com said before the bell.

US shipment data were reasonable too.

While America’s soybean export sales for the week were a little soft at 237,000 tonnes for this crop year and 227,000 tonnes for new crop, wheat was in line, at 104,000 tonnes this crop year and 228,000 tonnes for new crop.

Corn was buoyant, topping 1m tonnes in all.

Chicago beats Kansas beats

Minneapolis

All three commodities were higher in late trade, looking to end an upbeat month on an upbeat note.

Wheat remained in the lead, adding 12 cents to $6.42 ½ a bushel for Chicago’s July contract at 17:00 GMT. A close at that level would be the highest since early January.

It also took to 22.5% wheat’s gains for May, which has seen funds return to the market in earnest helped by investors’ revived appetite for risk

The improvement narrowly beat Kansas wheat, which garners a higher price - $6.92 a bushel for July delivery – but has gained 20% this month.

Minneapolis wheat seemed sluggish in comparison, standing up 5 cents to $7.72 ½ a bushel to take its May winnings to 13.3%.

Higher corn

Chicago corn, meanwhile, stood 5.5 cents to the good at $4.34 ½ a bushel, verging on a 20% gain for the month, with the export data providing an extra push.

Soybeans were 7 cents higher at $11.86 as bushel for July delivery, up 10.8% on the month.

While leading the charge for the early part of the month, beans have proved vulnerable in recent days to rumours of cancelled shipments to China, whose stockpiling antics are behind the recent rally.

There is also some speculation of a surge in late US soybean plantings from farmers worried they have missed the boat planting other crops, and wishing to cash in on the buoyant market.

Coffee awakes

New York softs ended off their day highs too, some slipping into negative territory, although they looked broadly better for the month.

Orange juice lost 1.0% to 93.80 for the day, but added 18.1% for May.

Cocoa ended lower too, off $2 at $2,581 a tonne, but gained 10.1% over the month.

Arabica coffee beans, meanwhile, closed up 0.3 cents at 137.10 cents a pound to take their monthly winnings to 19.2%.

That was far ahead of sugar, despite the hubbub about strong Indian exports. Sugar for July closed down 0.07 cents at 15.57 cents a pound, a rise of 10.8% for May.

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