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Morning markets: corn's run stalls as profit-taking sets in

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, after two bumper session, keep up the pace for a third?

The answer was no, at least in early deals on Friday, when a touch of profit-taking set in, as investors booked gains from a run which saw the grain in the last session post a record price of $7.93 a bushel.

There was plenty of support for the idea that prices will remain high, after the US Department of Agriculture, in its latest Wasde report on world crop supply and demand, cut its estimate for domestic corn stocks by more than 200m bushels, to a historically-tight 695m bushels.

"US corn stocks in 2011-12 are now expected to be tighter than the current season, implying that the current record high prices will need to persist for some time yet," Luke Mathews at Commonwealth Bank of Australia said.

Mike Mawdsley at Market 1 said: "The news for corn is bullish – period," noting that the USDA, while cutting its estimate for seedings, had stuck by a yield forecast which some feel may be optimistic, given the lateness in planting what has gone in the ground.

'Vulnerable to demand destruction'

However, Lynette Tan at struck a note a caution, saying that "those who are looking to take long position need to be cautious.

"As prices hit a high, they could be vulnerable to demand destruction and unwinding of long positions". Speculators do have a big net long position which will, one day, likely be sold down.

And certainly, it often happens that prices mark time for a little after each surge up, as investors assess signs of demand destruction and the sustainability of further increases.

As a decider, the


rose 0.2% against a basket of currencies, as the euro weakened amid fresh concerns for Greek debts. A stronger dollar weakens the attractions of dollar-denominated assets.

Corn for July fell 0.2% to $7.84 a bushel as of 07:20 GMT (08:20 UK time), with the new crop December lot, which set a contract high on Wednesday, shedding 0.4% to $7.11 ½ a bushel.

Soybeans slip


lost further ground too, having gained no support from the Wasde, which raised estimates for US stocks at the close of both this season and 2011-12, noting weakened export prospects.

The picture for oilseeds on a global basis was not so rosy, with the USDA cutting its estimates for stocks at the close of 2011-12 by 1.1m tonnes to 71.1m tonnes, reflecting worsened prospects for rapeseed production in Canada, hit by wet delays to spring sowings, and the European Union, where dry weather is the issue.

(And the UK, a major EU rapeseed producer, on Friday official declared some parts of England in drought, and the driest spring on record in the south east and central southern counties.)

Furthermore, China, the world's top soybean buyer, revealed that its imports of the oilseed rose 17.5% from April to 4.6m tonnes last month - although that still left them down 1% year on year, taking the January-to-May period as a whole.

Chicago soybeans for July shed 0.5% to $13.87 a bushel.

'Lost acres too low'



was back in the hot(ish) seat, up 0.2% at $7.46 ½ a bushel in Chicago for July, supported in part by its newly-reacquired discount to corn. Wheat, thanks to its higher protein count, normally has the advantage in that relationship.

And, while the Wasde was generally a touch negative, unearthing a cache of Russian wheat and raising the forecast for the US harvest, many observers have questioned the latter move given the extent of spring sowing delays.

"Many analysts feel that current projections of 200,000-300,000 lost acres of spring wheat are too low and will be higher," Dave Lehl at Benson Quinn Commodities said.

And while Thursday's weak close, after a firm start, "looks negative, we are at some recent lows and the lower end of trading ranges in Kansas and Chicago", which could provide a bit of a floor to prices.

Kansas hard red winter wheat added 0.3% at $8.74 a bushel.

Palm oil slips

Elsewhere, New York


, which closed the last session up the exchange maximum after wheat was perceived as a bullish Wasde, proved unable to keep up the pace, but added a further 1.1% to 152.71 cents a pound for July delivery.

And palm oil fell under the weight of data showing stocks had hit 1.92m tonnes last month, a rise of 15% from April and considerably higher than investors had expected.

Kuala Lumpur

palm oil

for August dipped 1.0% to 3,255 ringgit a tonne.

Car sales stall


lost ground too in Tokyo, shedding 1.1% to 383.60 yen a kilogramme for November delivery, continuing to feel pressure from a seasonal uptick in demand in Thailand, the top exporter, and data showing India's car sales grew at their slowest pace last month since a 2.8% increase two years before in the depths of the global downturn.

Chinese car sales fell 0.1% last month, compared with May 2010.

And this may not be the last we hear of Chinese statistics for now, not just following the trade data out earlier but inflation data due on Tuesday.


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