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Morning markets: grains regroup despite fresh data setback

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Was that it?

Sure, Friday bought some further heavy casualties in Chicago. New crop December


, for instance, the best-traded lot, was 32.75 cents, or 5.2% lower, at $5.89 ¾ a bushel at 07:30 GMT, (08:30 UK time).

But this loss could fairly be attributed to unfulfilled selling the last session, when the contract locked down the daily limit.

(That tumble came on official data showing that US farmers had sown far more corn had been thought, and that stocks left over from last year's harvest were far higher than had been thought.)

Indeed, in some respects, the December lot was doing a touch better early on than might have been expected, given that synthetic trading in the last session indicated that the exchange limit had left $0.37 a bushel in losses unfulfilled.

Price rises...

For contracts unrestrained by trading limits in the last session - notably Chicago's July contracts which, thanks to entering the expiry process, can range freely – further losses were limited.

Wheat for July fell 0.5% to $5.82 a bushel, while July corn added 0.3% to $6.31 a bushel.



, which fared relatively well last time, recovered a lot of what they did lose, adding 1.0% to $13.19 ½ a bushel for July delivery, and 1.1% to $13.08 ¾ a bushel for the best-traded, new crop November contract.

But then soybeans came out OK from the US Department of Agriculture data.

Sure, USDA officials found more of the oilseed left over from the last harvest than had been expected. But sowings for this year's crop were pegged some 1.3m acres below expectations.

China worries

Soybeans' resilience was reflected in

palm oil

, its rival in the oilseed complex, too.

Sure, palm oil for September dipped to a fresh eight-month low of 3,035 ringgit a tonne in morning trade in Kuala Lumpur, getting its first chance to react to Thursday's plunges on western Exchanges.

But the benchmark contract pared losses to stand 0.6% lower at 3,054 ringgit a tonne. And, back in Chicago, rival soyoil for December was 0.3% higher at 55.88 cents a pound, recovering some lost ground.

And this despite some weak economic data from China, a big buyer of oilseeds and vegetable oils, where growth factory output last month was pegged at its lowest rate in more than two years.

An index formed through interviews with purchasing managers came in at 50.9, below the 52.0 recorded in May and expectations of a figure of 51.3 – besides getting near the 50.0 level below which indicates contraction.

Indeed, this survey depressed many other commodity markets, with


losing ground in London, and both West Texas Intermediate and Brent


dropping some 0.7%.

Bullish snippets

Can grains maintain resilience?

There are some factors in their favour, notably the scepticism with which analysts are treating the USDA data – and officials have said they will resurvey some states on acres, with results to be released next month.

Furthermore, there are some bullish snippets of news. Weekly export data, overshadowed by Thursday's acreage and stocks reports, showed US corn shipments topping 930,000 tonnes, at the top end of expectations.

"The export sales data should have been considered supportive as it was at a six-week high and confirmed that the recent break in the flat price has stimulated some fresh demand," Jon Michalscheck at Benson Quinn Commodities said.

Too much rain

And weather has turned less benign in some areas.

"In Argentina, excess rainfalls are hampering both corn harvests and wheat plantings. For the same reason, operators are concerned about wheat quality in Ukraine," Agritel, the Paris-based consultancy, said.

It looks like staying rainy in Ukraine too, where harvest has newly begun.

"The late day European weather model still shows a lot of rain coming for Eastern Europe, Belarus and the northern and eastern Ukraine over the next five days," said.

"That huge persistent low that has lingered over the Ukraine is going to get reinforced by a new low this weekend. Poland, Belarus and the northern and eastern Ukraine will see 60% coverage of 1-2 inches of rain by July 4."

'Sell the rally mentality'

But will investors, and notably funds, take a bullish stance in live trading later, after liquidating 35,000 contracts of corn alone on Thursday?

Certainly, it is the first if the month, a time which often attracts new money.

However, there are plenty of doubts around that the selling is over.

"From a technical standpoint, the wheat markets are once again reaching oversold conditions, but I expect the trade to take on a 'sell the rally' mentality as the corn market searches for value," Brian Henry at Benson Quinn said.

At Market 1, Mike Mawdsley, terming the USDA data "game changers" indeed advised corn investors to "sell rallies until proven wrong".

"Bearish is the understatement. Larger supplies means not much reason to rally unless weather takes a turn for the worse."


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