May corn was trading 1 cents higher late in the overnight session. Outside market forces look negative overnight with a weak US stock market and strength in the US dollar. May corn is down about 20 cents on the week in spite of talk of potential frost damage to some of the early planted crop, talk of a slowdown in plantings into the middle of next week due to increased rain and talk of China buying US corn on the break. Cash markets remain strong and weekly export sales news was supportive but traders remain concerned over the possibility of long liquidation selling into the planting season. While there were no sales announced on the daily wire, China was a noted buyer of 60,000 tonnes of US corn in the weekly sales update. A China agriculture ministry survey showed that corn plantings this year could be up 2.7% to 35 million hectares as producers in the northeast provinces are shifting away from soybeans to corn. China feedgrain demand is on the rise and weather will be critical this season as China has reduced reserve stocks to a minimum over the past few years. China 1st quarter pork production was 15.11 million tonnes, up 4% from last year. May corn managed to close slightly higher on the session yesterday and December corn unchanged on the day as late selling drove the market down sharply from the early peak. Long liquidation selling emerged late in the day to pressure. The surge higher in wheat, fears that some of the early planted corn may need to be replanted and ideas that frosted corn which was not totally lost will still see slower development ahead helped to spark renewed interest in buying old crop corn. Since the USDA is counting on August corn to avoid extreme tightness into September 1st, demand for May and July corn was stronger than buying in December. The very strong cash market, continued rumors of demand from China and solid weekly export sales added to the positive tone. Mid-day weather models were considered somewhat negative as well with less cold weather for the Midwest early next week and a shift to more rain for the western and northern sections of the Corn Belt which have been the driest. Sales came in at 959,100 metric tonnes for the current marketing year and 16,700 for the next marketing year for a total of 975,800 which was higher than expected. Cumulative sales stand at 81.1% of the USDA forecast versus a 5 year average of 76.4%. Sales of 383,000 metric tonnes are needed each week to reach the USDA forecast.
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