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Evening markets: weather outlook rains on grains' parade

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Farm commodities once again trod something of an independent path on Thursday. But this time, that led to the basement rather than the attic.

Many markets found some stability despite the ongoing US budget uncertainties, with new jobless claims coming in below 400,000 for the first time since April providing some light relief. US stocks, for instance, stood – just – in positive ground in late deals.

But the data also helped the


recover a bit of ground, creating a little bit of a cloud over dollar-denominated assets reliant on export markets, including many commodities.

And while


had support from Tropical Storm Don, which has closed some Gulf of Mexico capacity, to stabilise it, as did


with the strike at the world's biggest copper mine, in Mexico, most farm commodities had no such luck.

'Extreme heat ended'





had quite the opposite, with forecasts for the US looking increasingly less threatening, in terms of providing crop-threatening heat.

"The extreme heat appears to have ended," US Commodities said.

"The 6-to-10 day outlook has rain favouring some of the dry areas of Illinois. The 11-to-15 day finally hits the last holdout state of Missouri." added that if the heat dome which marred crop condition this month "does come back into the Midwest, it won't be until mid-August".

'Not help momentum'

And that wasn't the only downer for the two row crops, with export sales showing corn shipments at some 490,000 tonnes, old crop and new, below market forecasts.

Soybean export sales were below par too, at some 370,000 tonnes.

"Traders saw export sales disappoint in corn and soybeans," Matthew Pierce at PitGuru said.

"This will not help momentum for row crops, especially with all the water standing around on LaSalle Street," where the Chicago Board of Trade is based, and often taken by traders as a signal that it is raining elsewhere.

US Commodities added that "both exports and ethanol corn use are at risk of not meeting the US Department of Agricultures' old crop demand forecast


While the USDA also provided some relief, in reporting separately 200,000 tonnes of American corn sold to Japan, the deal was too small to prevent corn closing down 1.3% at $6.82 ¼ a bushel for December delivery.

Soybeans for November, the best-trade lot, ended down 0.7% at $13.71 ½ a bushel.

Disappointing tour results

The malaise even spread to


too, despite the grain, for once, boasting the best news of the day on supply and fundamental terms, with the mood still gloomy about the findings of the Wheat Quality Council spring wheat tour of top producing state North Dakota.

"While the spring wheat crop was not expected to be as good as the crop harvest the last couple of years, the results of this week's tour were a little disappointing from the standpoint of projected yield," Benson Quinn Commodities said.

Furthermore, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange pitched in by cutting its forecast for Argentina's wheat sowings by 100,000 hectares, to 4.7m hectares.

US vs EU

And weekly US wheat export sales data were upbeat too, at 474,000 tonnes, towards the upper end of expectations.

Still, Chicago's September closed down 1.6% at $6.93 ¼ a bushel even if higher-protein varieties did better, such as Minneapolis hard red spring wheat, which finished 0.5% lower at $8.46 ¾ a bushel.

European lots did better too, helped by a strengthening dollar as well as continued uncertainty about the quality of this year's harvest.

Paris's November contract closed up 2.0% at E200 a tonne exactly, while London's equivalent gained 0.9% to £165.00 a tonne.

'Usual terrible self'

Among softs,


frayed, losing new found support, gained following Tuesday's startling turnaround, as Tropical Storm Don promised rains for drought-stricken Texas.

Furthermore, US weekly cotton sales were, in the words of Keith Brown at broker Keith Brown & Co, their "usual terrible self", standing at a negative 64,000 bales for old crop, meaning cancellation of orders.

Cotton for December settled down1.0% at 102.57 cents a pound.

Don did more favours for

orange juice

, acting as a reminder of the hurricane threat to Florida, and helping the September contract gain 0.15 cents to 198.90 cents a pound.

Cocoa hopes

But other softs softened, with


running out of buyers at its elevated levels to close down 3.9% at 29.92 cents a pound in New York.


was noticeably weak too, ending down 2.0% at $2,974 a tonne for September delivery, weighed down by hopes Indonesian Cocoa Association that production in the country, the third-ranked producer, may rise to 660,000 tonnes next year.


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