December corn was down 9 cents late in the overnight session. Outside market forces look mixed to slightly negative with a weaker tone to equity markets and choppy trade in the dollar. The market saw impressive trade early yesterday with talk of better demand from China, improving margins for hog and cattle producers in the US and good profit margins for ethanol producers. The weak close, however, seems to have attracted increased selling pressure overnight, and the market drifted lower for much of the night session into this morning. Trade focus is on the USDA Crop Production and Supply/Demand reports for release next week. December corn closed near unchanged on the session yesterday and well off of the early highs. Strength in energy and equity markets failed to bleed over into the grain markets. The market saw some early buying support to drive futures higher early in the session, but the setback in wheat and choppy trade in the US stock market helped spark selling. The turn back up in outside markets helped support a bounce, but the market fell six cents late in the day. Stronger than expected export sales and ideas that the recent sharp break is attracting better demand overall for corn helped to provide early support. Weekly export sales, released before the open yesterday, corn came in at 1.289 million metric tonnes for the current marketing year and 1,800 for the next marketing year for a total of 1.291 million, which was nearly 450,000 above expectations. Cumulative corn sales stand at 40.8% of the USDA forecast for 2011/12 (current) marketing year versus a 5 year average of 30.9%. Sales of 514,000 metric tonnes are needed each week to reach the USDA forecast. China was a noted buyer of 57,800 tonnes. In their first production estimate of the year, Brazilian officials pegged the 2011/12 corn crop at 57.33-58.99 million tonnes, compared with 57.5 million tonnes last year. US cash markets have been strong in recent days, as producer selling is very light for this time of the year. News that Ukraine has voted to cancel export duties is seen as a negative, as it might encourage more exports of corn and wheat on the world market.
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