Is China losing its ability to shock markets?
(And North Korea too, after its missile launch, while branded by the US a "provocative action threatens regional security, violates international law and contravenes its own recent commitments" ended in failure.)
The world's second-ranked economy came in with some weak growth figures, with the economy expanding 8.1%, year on year, in the first quarter, the weakest pace in nearly three years, and below market forecasts.
Nonetheless, reaction was mixed.
Sure, in commodities, many of which rely hugely on China for patronage, there were certainly some losers, including
Among agricultural commodities,
Sugar's price reaction in the last session "was generally muted considering the majority of ag markets were up 1% overnight, boosted by better sentiment in financial markets", Paul Deane at Australia & New Zealand Bank said.
And, in Chicago,
Interest in planting corn has reached such levels that "supply of corn seeds in parts of northeast provinces has begun to fall short of demand", China's agriculture ministry said, according to a report carried on the Chinagrain.cn website.
Indeed, the data would appear more supportive for
Still, it was corn showed the biggest gain, adding 0.3% to $6.39 ¼ a bushel for May in what could be a crucial move, given a technical set-up.
The contract's nine-day, 20-day and 50-day moving averages are all aligned, within 1.5 cents of each other.
"This usually means a sharp, quick move is coming, but which way?" Mike Mawdsley at broker Market 1 said.
Furthermore, Thursday's strong US weekly export sales data, of 976,000 tonnes, which failed to move markets so much in the last session, continued to get a good write-up.
"The old crop sales were nearly 550,000 tonnes above what the trade needs to average per week," to meet US Department of Agriculture expectations for the full 2011-12," Jon Michalscheck at Benson Quinn Commodities said.
The figure "may indicate the end user may want to get their coverage on the books ahead of new crop corn possibly needing to add more of a weather premium as we get further into the growing season".
Soybeans themselves added a more modest 0.1% to $14.41 ¾ a bushel for May delivery, continuing to encounter some of the profit-taking which has dogged the oilseed this week at its elevated levels.
The lot in the last session chalked up the highest close since August for a spot contract.
Indeed, soybeans even fell behind
"Freezing temperatures across the US wheat belt is also supporting sentiment in wheat," Luke Mathews at Commonwealth Bank of Australia said.
"However, most weather forecasters say the damage to wheat crops is likely to be insignificant."
While Thursday night is still happening in the US, on Wednesday night WxRisk.com reported "numerous temperatures in the low and mid 20s [degrees Fahrenheit] across all of Minnesota, central and eastern Iowa, and 28-32 degrees over all of Wisconsin and Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky".