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Morning markets: broad rebound, and US data, lift crops

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It was Turnaround Tuesday for many markets, not just farm commodities.

The idea that a strong trend on a Monday is reversed the next day is one of the most quoted market adages in Chicago.

However, this time, there was something of it in


, which rose 2.0% in Tokyo, 3.8% in Seoul and stood 1.8% higher in Shanghai in late deals, and in inedible commodities such as


, which added 0.9% in New York.


gained 1.5% in Shanghai.



, that gauge of market fear, dipped 0.4% against a basket of currencies, a sign of improved investor sentiment besides improving the affordability of dollar-denominated assets.

Maturity question

In fact, against that background, crops' gains appeared relatively puny. Although many did, of course, fare relatively well on Tuesday, especially


, in dropping a modest 0.6% for December delivery amid a day of strong liquidation on broader markets.

There was some modestly bullish data out overnight, when the US Department of Agriculture estimated the condition of the US crop, as in the proportion rated "good" or "excellent", falling 2 points to 52%.

Data showing a jump to 18% in the proportion of the crop viewed mature, from 3% last week and in line with the long-term average, was also noted in light of the continued dryness in many parts of the Corn Belt.

"Ongoing dry conditions is stressing the crop in some of the states which is speeding up the maturity level although of the top five only Illinois has finally gone ahead of their five-year average," Jon Michalscheck at Benson Quinn Commodities said.

'Corn crop is shrinking'

All this gave some support to the idea of a poor crop.

"There is no dispute that the size of this year's US corn crop is shrinking due to bad weather," Lynette Tan at Phillip Futures in Singapore said.

"The question is no longer if there is enough corn but more about how short the supply is."

And that is an ongoing debate, with estimates out yesterday from Allendale and Informa Economics for the US crop well above gloomy forecasts from Lanworth which sent prices soaring on Friday.

December corn added 0.7% to $7.61 ¼ a bushel as of 07:30 GMT (08:30 UK time).

'Dubious' data

Some of the same logic goes for


too, with Informa going against the trend in coming up with a US yield forecast larger (just) than the USDA's 41.4-bushels-per-acre estimate.

Most analysts expect a downgrade when the USDA on Monday releases its monthly flagship Wasde report on world crop supply demand.

Still, the crop condition data out overnight disappointed some investors in showing a decline of a modest 1 point in the good or excellent rating of US soybeans, despite dry weather.

In fact, there was some dispute over the headline figure, given the state-by-state breakdown which showed the proportion of the Indiana crop seen in good or excellent condition sliding by 5 points, with the Nebraska figure dropping 3% and a 2% decline in Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota.

"It seems dubious that overall national rating only declined 1 point," Kim Rugel at Benson Quinn said.

Soybeans for November added 0.7% to $14.31 ¾ a bushel.

Speedy harvest

The best performer was


, despite the overnight USDA crop report showing healthy progress in the spring wheat harvest, with 68% in the silo as of Sunday, up 18 points on the week, if behind the average of 81%.

North of the border, Canadian farmers are doing even better, despite a rain-delayed spring sowing season, getting 33% of crops harvested, 2 points ahead of the average. Manitoba has nearly half its crops in the barn.

"Favourable weather last week has pushed the overall Prairie harvest pace ahead of normal, after a summer where crop development had generally lagged," the Canadian Wheat Board said.

"In southern Alberta and pockets of western Saskatchewan, minimal rainfall meant the harvest could continue to build speed. Meanwhile, above-normal temperatures on the eastern Prairies kept harvesting on track."

Still, with investors in buying mood, Chicago's December contract added 1.0% to $7.67 ¼ a bushel, with Minneapolis spring wheat up 0.7% at $9.38 ¼ a bushel.

Virginia blues



, US crop condition data was supportive, with the proportion of the crop rated good or excellent falling 1 point to a meagre 28%.

The decline reflected in part the continuing dry weather in Texas, the top producing state, where the last bit of crop rated excellent disappeared.

However, the data also revealed a slump in the condition of the Virginia crop, following damage from hurricane Irene. The proportion rated good or excellent slumped by 50 points to 40%.

Cotton for December delivery gained 0.1% to 106.49 cents a pound in New York.


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