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Evening markets: debate over US heat pulls grains from highs

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How hot is the Midwest going to be in a week's time?

Investors already appear to have written off next week as a poor one for US crops, notably pollinating

corn

, bringing uncomfortable heat to the Midwest.

"The limited rains next week will cause crop ratings on corn and soybeans to slide 1-2%," US Commodities said.

"Soil moisture shortages should expand to 40-45% of the Corn Belt."

However, the big question is what happens the week after. Further heat for a crop deprived of soil moisture would be a far bigger threat.

Hot... but for how long

And that concern waned later on Friday.

WxRisk.com said said that weather model data was "pretty clear that the overall hot pattern will come to an end around July 24 to 25."

The weather service added: "All the data shows the heat dome over the eastern us simply breaks down and the cold front which is situated over the upper Plains and the western Corn Belt will get a chance to push into the central Plains and all the Midwest."

Not that everyone was quite so convinced.

"The GFS model continues to indicate more heat and less regression of the [heat] ridge," Darrell Holaday at broker Country Futures said.

Liquidation ahead?

But the doubts were enough to bring corn back well back from intraday highs. Indeed, selling into the rally was the safe option.

"I fear a major flush-out of weak length next week if weather does not agree with every and I mean every bull," Matthew Pierce at PitGuru said.

So December corn closed at $6.85 a bushel in Chicago, a price which, while 1.0% up on the day was still well below the intraday peak of $6.96 a bushel.

The old crop September contract closed at $7.01 ¼ a bushel, below a peak of $7.11 a bushel for the day.

Back to a discount

And with corn, the market leader, giving up ground, there was little hope for other grains, especially after Russia scooped another full house, of 180,000 tonnes, after the latest Egyptian

wheat

tender, highlighting that US and European supplies are out of the money.

Egypt bought its Russian wheat for $245.59-247.25 a tonne, more than $30 below the cheapest offers for French and US alternatives.

"That continues to be negative to the wheat market," Mr Holaday said.

"The low price of Russian wheat remains the worry factor for European and other markets," the UK grain arm of a major European commodities house said.

With harvest ahead, "at some stage in the next month or two there will be more wheat about in the major producing countries than home [EU] demand can absorb, and then markets will have to fall in order to compete with Russian supplies".

While Paris wheat managed a positive finish, up 1.1% at E200.00 a tonne, Chicago wheat certainly turned downward on Friday, closing down 1.7% at $6.94 ¾ a bushel for September delivery. Indeed, regaining its, unusual, discount to corn.

Floor near?

Soybeans

stuck to the low volatility path, gaining some support from the US weather fears to end up 0.3% at $13.85 ¾ a bushel for August delivery, and up 0.2% at $13.87 a bushel for the best-traded November contract.

And, in New York,

cotton

retained its trading pattern too – meaning another trouncing on concerns that demand has been destroyed by the run up in prices to record highs earlier this year.

Jurgens Bauer at PitGuru said that, for the December contract, "I suspect a floor somewhere between 90 cents and a 100 cents a pound, but see no urgent reason to be in a rush to buy."

Nor did many other investors, with the lot falling the maximum daily limit, of 5.0 cents, to finish at 99.46 cents a pound, dropping below 100 cents a pound for the first time in six months.

The new crop December lot dropped the same limit to 101.35 cents a pound.

Cocoa sweetens

Not all soft commodities were so negative, with

cocoa

for September adding 0.4% to $3,168 a tonne in New York, following data showing firmer demand.

The North American cocoa grind rose 6.2%, to 125,000 tonnes in the second quarter, the National Confectioners Association said overnight.

That followed data on Thursday showing the European cocoa grind rose 8.3%, to 356,000 tonnes in the same period.

By Agrimoney.com

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