December wheat was up 2 3/4 cents late in the overnight session. Outside market forces look slightly positive today with a firm tone for energy markets overnight. The market found some support from outside market forces overnight, but a rough start for the winter wheat crop and continued concerns that the southern plains drought could expand into the spring has helped provide underlying support. For the first crop report of the new season, the winter wheat crop was rated 47% good/excellent, which was unchanged from last year, but last year was the worst rated first crop reading of the year back to at least 1986, which is as far back as our records go. The 10 year average for this time of year is 54%. The Crop Progress report showed that 82% of the winter wheat crop was planted as of Sunday, compared to 73% last week and 87% last year. The 10 year average for this time of year is 84%. Ohio is just 55% planted, compared with 82% on average for this time of the year. December wheat closed 10 1/2 cents higher on the session yesterday and just a few cents off of the early highs. More talk that China may be buying Australia wheat helped to support the rally, and strength in the other grains helped support as well. China reportedly bought 500,000 tonnes of wheat from Australia overnight. The China National Grain and Oils Information Centre believes that China will import 1.5 million tonnes of wheat this year, up 90% from last year. Weekly export inspections, released during the session yesterda, came in at 17.4 million bushels, which was near the low end of trade expectations. Weekly exports need to average 18.4 million bushels each week to reach the USDA projection. Some traders are increasing their export outlook out of Australia to above 20 million tonnes, compared with the recent USDA forecast of 19 million. Egypt has removed a ban on Ukrainian imports, so Ukraine will be involved as an origin in the next tender. Taiwan bought 43,950 tonnes of US wheat overnight. Syria is in the market for 100,000 tonnes of wheat, and so is Jordan. A surge higher in January rice to the highest level since September 22nd added to the positive tone. The US dollar pushed to a new low for the move during the session and down to the lowest level since September 8th, which lent support to wheat.
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