Monday's weekly export inspections report, a gauge of near-term demand, was weak as expected ahead of Friday's big USDA planted acreage report. Importing countries back away from the market until the new acreage and potential production numbers unveil themselves.
Wheat inspected for near-term shipment was 15.3 million bushels versus 21 the week prior and four-week average of 19. Corn was 22.2 million bushels versus 23.2 last week, and the four-week average of 29; beans were 24.9 versus a four-week average of 29. Monday saw grains bought across the board on fear that Friday's crop report won't unveil enough acres seeded this spring to offset the strong world demand depleting our reserves through exports. But at late midsession Monday, traders sold corn and pulled it down while holding long beans as traders are more bullish beans longer term than corn.
Look for them to unwind that spread ahead of Friday's report as well. Spread trading is expected to be big this week on several fronts.
One, the planted acreage report affects new crop December corn futures and new crop November beans and our 2013 ending stocks inventory from its eventual production. Old crop futures would be more influenced by Friday's quarterly stocks if it has more affect concerning current crop year inventory for corn and beans that ends August 31.
We also expect a lot of old and new crop spreading between July and December corn and July vs. November beans. All this should continue to give us wild swings in the grains prior the report as traders move in and out of trades. The pre-report estimates came out from 30 major brokerage houses polled. The average corn acre guess is 94.6 million acres to be planted versus 91.9 last year and a range of 93.7 to 95.7. Beans were 75.4 versus 74.9 last year with a range of 74.4 to 76.6. All wheat 57.5 versus 54.4 last year and a range of 56 to 58.3 million acres.
Of course, come Monday, traders will say it's not what you plant but what you grow, as weather is always the biggest yield determinant.
The quarterly stocks report reads like this. Corn stocks on hand as of March 1 are guessed at 6.160 billion bushels versus 6.523 a year ago. That is fairly bullish. Beans 1.371 billion versus 1.249 last year, slightly bearish; and wheat was 1.250 billion bushels versus 1.425 last year. These two conflicting reports collided Friday to create some wild trading. You could have a bullish quarterly stocks report with old crop futures up and a bearish acres report with new crop futures down or vice versa. Old crop futures are the months prior December corn and November beans. New crop corn is December futures on out and November beans on out.
There's talk that when we enter next week we could be looking at a frost and freeze across the Midwest. With winter wheat emergence in the plains ahead of normal this would create fear that wheat acres in number one U.S. winter wheat producing state, Kansas, could be widely affected. It appears the soft red winter wheat in the eastern grain belt of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio would see the coldest temperatures, but the heads are not developed as were still in the greening up stage and usually less affected by the effects of frost. But the market trades fear before fact.
With trend following funds short 81,000 contracts, a short covering rally on fear could push wheat to $6.90 quickly. We first have to close over the May futures' $6.64 resistance on the charts. Technicals read like this. May corn support is $6.30, if a close under $6.38 occurs. Support for May beans is $13.30. May wheat support rests at $6.44. Buy a close over $6.66.
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