July corn was trading 1 cent higher late in the overnight session after trading as much as 6 cents higher and pushed to the highest level since April 13th. China futures were closed for holiday. Outside market forces look a bit weaker to start the session with a firm US dollar and some weakness in energy markets. There were no deliveries on first notice day for May corn. The weather outlook appears mostly negative with warmer and wet weather over the next week but not enough rain to cause major slowdowns in plantings. There is some cooler weather for the week of May 7th which traders will monitor for frost issues. Traders expect tonight's weekly update to show that 42-46% of the crop is planted as compared with 12% last year and 29% as the 20-year average. July corn opened sharply higher on Friday and traded up to its highest level since April 13th. Support in the corn market came from tight US cash markets and news of more active buying from China. The USDA confirmed the highest one-day sale of corn since 1991, totaling 1.56 million tonnes. An unknown destination bought 1.44 million tonnes of US corn for the 2012/13 season, and traders assume that could be China. Additionally, there was a sale confirmed to China for 120,000 tonnes for the 2011/12 season. Cash basis levels remain very strong for old crop with basis bids of 45 cents over July for central Illinois. Cold weather moved through the upper and eastern Corn Belt late last week and early in the weekend but temperatures were not as cold as expected. The day's more than 3.0% gain on Friday helped July corn close the week with a gain of nearly 4.0%. The Commitments of Traders reports as of April 24th showed Non-Commercial traders were net long 146,145 contracts, down a whopping 46,726 contracts in just one week. Commodity Index traders held a net long position of 407,607 contracts, up 3,652. Traders will view the report as a double edged sword. Some will believe the market is less overbought as funds massively reduced their net long position in corn. Others will see the selling trend as negative. With Decatur Illinois corn bid at 45 cents premium to July corn and May corn trading at a 28 cent premium to July corn, traders are now concerned with tightness all the way out through the July delivery period. South Korea is in the market for 195,000 tonnes of optional origin corn for November delivery and also 70,000 tonnes of optional origin corn for October delivery. Israel is in the market for 35,000 tonnes of optional origin corn.
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