March soybeans were up 5 cents overnight. Palm oil futures in Malaysia are closed for holiday. China soybean futures closed up 0.5%. Outside market forces look mostly positive with a new low for the move for the US dollar, but energy market weakness is an offset. The market is seeing solid support from international food prices pushing higher and specifically from the rally in the vegetable oil markets. Flooding in Malaysia has disrupted the flow of palm oil exports this week, and too much rain could lead to lower yield ahead. In addition, the dock workers' strike in Argentina appears to be getting entrenched, as shipments are being delayed at the tail end of their marketing year. Argentina is the largest world exporter of soybean oil and meal. The Egyptian situation helped support sharp rallies in wheat, rice and milk yesterday, and end users of vegetable oils and other basic food commodities appear to be making a move to own or store a little more due to political unrest. November soybeans led the rally yesterday with talk that higher prices for competing planted area crops helping to spark new buying. The market found initial support from the rally in wheat, the continued port workers' strike in Argentina and a very strong palm oil market. Flooding conditions in some plantations in Malaysia slowed movement and could tighten vegetable oil supply. The Argentina strike has apparently affected 18 different ports and crushing plants and is now seven days old. The China Commerce Ministry indicated that China may import 4.79 million tonnes of soybeans in January, which is up from its previous forecast of 4.55 million. February imports are expected near 2.73 million tonnes becvause the Lunar New Year is expected to slow movement. Weekly export inspections, released during the session yesterday, came in at just 29.7 million bushels, which was well below trade expectations. This is down from 43.1 million last week, but it is still higher than the 20.2 million bushel needed each week to reach the USDA projection for the marketing year.
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