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Evening markets: weather forecast 'flip flop' treads on corn

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Can you believe it? A flip flop.

A term which has become a widespread political slur spread to US meteorology.

The "heat dome" predicted for the Midwest towards the end of the month, threatening further yield losses to


, was turned into more of a molehill by some weather model data on Wednesday.

In technical terms, "the 12z GFS model offers a solution which is significantly different from what the European model was showing this morning and from what the GFS is showing this morning", said.

Less technically: "In other words, the model has flipped flopped."

"The GFS develops a much weaker heat dome over the lower eastern Corn Belt on July 28-29."

'Profit-taking smart'

With less heat in the outlook (for now anyway), investors proved more willing to bank profits.

"Profit-taking is smart here for many reasons," Matthew Pierce at PitGuru advised even before the offending forecast appeared.

He warned that grains were technically "overbought", besides the risk that "weather markets that look bullish one day can change to bearish in a matter of hours and then back and forth again and again".

External su


Sure, declines were limited. After all, as US Commodities noted, "it is believed that China will be interested in buying corn between $6.00-6.50 a bushel".

But with signs of end user buying in corn currently on the wane, falls looked inevitable despite a positive day on external markets, where strong results from the likes of Apple, and increased hopes that the US will sort out its budget ceiling, improved appetite for risk assets.

Shares rose 1.1% in London and 1.6% in Paris, while the


fell 0.6% against a basket of currencies, adding an extra reason for investors abroad to buy dollar-denominated assets such as commodities.

That said Mr Pierce took a slightly different tack: "There is continual talk of an impending deal concerning the US debt ceiling is helping the euro in that our currency will be worth less than the paper we print it on."

Wheat regains premium

Corn fell 1.4% for December delivery, the best-traded contract, to close at $6.77 ¾ a bushel. The September lot fell the same to $6.88 a bushel.

And that was enough to lose the spot contract its premium over its


peer, which gained 0.5% to $6.97 a bushel, returning the grains to their normal pecking order.

(Wheat is usually favoured for its greater protein content, although estimates for unusually low corn supplies have seen the order switch at times this year.)

Wheat was helped by weather outlooks asking a number of questions over wheat supplies, especially where quality is concerned.

"Global weather forecasts point to a continuation of dry conditions in key areas of Russia, the expansion of dry conditions in China , and ample rains in eastern Europe that have increased the potential of quality concerns on that wheat crop," Benson Quinn Commodities said.

Indeed, it was the higher protein, hard wheats which did best. Kansas hard red winter wheat added 2.1% to $7.94 a bushel for September, while the Minneapolis hard red spring equivalent added 2.4% to $8.52 ¾ a bushel.

Seasonal trend

European wheat contracts were left in their wake, held back by strong currencies against the weaker dollar, besides a closer geographical view of the Black Sea producers' latest export victory, of 50,000 tonnes for Jordan. The price was reported at $293 a tonne including freight.

And then there is harvest pressure to think of.

"We note the when looking at our seasonal trend we can expect to see price weakness on milling wheat futures from late July through to September," Jaime Nolan at FCStone's Dublin office said.

"Looking at fundamentals across the market, we see little reason for this trend not to prevail this year."

Paris wheat for November closed down 1.1% at E199.25 a tonne, while its London equivalent lost 0.2% to £166.65 a tonne.

Chinese order

Back in Chicago,


put in a middling performance, with prices depressed by the cooler weather forecast (although August is a more crucial month for the oilseed) but supported by further evidence of China's return to buying.

China bought 220,000 tonnes of new crop soybeans, the USDA reported through its daily briefing system, helping the new crop November lot add 0.1% to $13.84 a bushel.

The old crop September lot eased 0.1% to $13.78 ¼ a bushel.

Coffee to perk up?

And, heading into soft commodities, performances were mixed too, with


continuing to show weakness – albeit limited from a turn from a period of harvest pressure to one of seasonal strength.

"Seasonal tendency to move upward usually starts between now and say the second week in August," Jurgens Bauer at PitGuru said.

"There still are those willing to bottom pick, chief among them some experienced, savvy coffee traders who believe that somewhere close to the 240 cents-a-pound area will hold."

The September contract ended down 0.2% at 243.40 cents a pound in New York.

Juice sours

Orange juice's

bull run also broke, with a dose of profit-taking after a six-day winning streak, attributed to polarised fears of dryness or storm damage to Florida's crop.

New York's September contract fell 0.7% to $200.00 cents a pound.



returned to winning ways, adding 0.5% to 28.92 cents a pound for October, helped by a 2m-tonne cut, to 38.5m tonnes, in the International Sugar Organization's forecast for output from Brazil – the latest in a series of downgrades.

"It seems consensus the Brazil harvest tail off will now be pronounced, it's just conjecture on how severe," Thomas Kujawa at Sucden Financial said.


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