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Morning markets: dollar dip lets grain futures off the hook

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It was a Turnaround Tuesday of sorts, and not just for farm commodities.

Many risk assets enjoyed a reprieve from the recent selling trend, amid hopes that Greece will manage to approve enough spending cuts and tax increases to qualify for a E12bn emergency rescue package from other eurozone nations.

(That said, the Greek government faces a confidence motion in parliament later.)

Japan's Nikkei index closed up 1.1%, while the dollar, which has become an inverse indicator of investment sentiment, eased 0.4%, making dollar-denominated assets including many commodities more affordable to buyers in other currencies.

Crops improve

Copper

edged higher, while New York

crude

rebounded 0.9% to reclaim $94 a barrel, as of 07:30 GMT (08:30 UK time).

And Chicago crops across the board had a firm start too – something of a rarity of late.

Sure. US Department of Agriculture data out overnight showed the condition of the majority of US crops improving, a factor which, in implying higher yields, should be a negative for crop prices.

Of

corn

, 70% was rated in "good" or "excellent" condition, up one point week on week, and narrowing the gap on last year's 75%.

The proportion of the

soybean

crop in the top two bands also rose by one point, to 68%, with even the condition of spring

wheat

improving, by four points to 72% rated good or excellent, despite the heavy rains which have still prevented 9% of the crop being sown.

(Drought-stressed

cotton

was one crop to deteriorate over the week, by two points to 26% in the top bands, helping New York's new crop December lot add 1.4% to 125.84 cents a pound.)

Canada sowings stall

But the grains condition data were in line with market forecasts, after a warmer and drier week for many areas of the US.

And "next week could tell us a different story", with many states "expected to receive heavy amounts of precipitation this week", Jon Michalscheck at Benson Quinn Commodities said.

Wet areas include Canada, where spring sowings have also been significantly held up, so much so that growers got only 1% of their crop in the ground last week, taking the total to 87%.

(Statistics Canada data will give a further insight into expectations for lost acres although, being based on a survey at the end of last month, the findings are forecast to be conservative.)

Options complication

Other factors are in play too, notably the expiration of July options, which may prevent corn prices at least falling too far.

"Liquidation since the USDA June 9 report may have run its course, in the short term at least, as the market may be setting up for some modest consolidation ahead of the July options expiring on Friday," Mr Michalscheck said.

"The largest amount of open interest is currently at the July $7.00 a bushel call strike price with the $7.50 call coming in second. July put open interest is the largest at the $7.00 level, with the $6.50 level coming in a distant second."

Many analysts have noted a pick-up in demand for crops too at these lower price levels, with South Korean feed groups notably busy.

Heavy rains

Meanwhile, the US winter wheat harvest, while continuing apace, had not been all plain sailing, as one Kansas farmer, Jim Michael, discovered.

Mr Michael at the weekend "woke up to a thunderstorm that dumped four inches of rain and hail on his wheat crop near McCune - he had harvested about 40% of his acreage to that point", the McPherson Sentinel reported, adding that the crop have suffered severe damage.

Chicago wheat for July added 1.0% to $6.65 ¾ a bushel, with July corn gaining 1.2% to $7.08 ¾ a bushel.

Soybeans for July added 0.8% to $13.45 ¾ a bushel.

Thai elections

Elsewhere, Kuala Lumpur

palm oil

for September delivery added 0.6% to 3,213 ringgit a tonne, rebound from a six month closing low in the last session, amid hopes of increased orders.

Ker Chung Yang at Phillip Futures noted talk of "increased demand from China and as buyers replenished stockpiles ahead of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan". (To be clear, Ramadan is not all about fasting.)

But

rubber

for November edged 0.2% lower to 377.00 yen a kilogramme in Tokyo.

"According to The International Rubber Consortium, natural rubber prices this week could be volatile and sentiment-driven. Besides, the coming Thai election will also be closely watched as well," Mr Ker said.

By Agrimoney.com

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