May wheat was trading 7 1/2 cents lower late in the overnight session. Outside market forces look negative today with weakness in metal and equity markets and more up in the US dollar. The outlook for improving crop conditions in the central and southern plains in the next few weeks continues to provide some pressure. Some traders are growing a bit concerned with the possibility of cold weather moving down early next week into the Eastern Corn belt which might clip some of the soft red wheat areas if the cold weather forecast intensifies. May wheat managed to close slightly higher on the session yesterday after spending much of the day in negative territory. Key financial and metal markets reacted to the Fed Reserve minutes release and funds turned sellers in the other grains but wheat saw aggressive short-covering late in the day. Rain in the plains this week and ideas that the crop may continue to improve helped to spark the early selling pressures. Traders see some rain in the forecast for Europe and the fast start to the spring wheat plantings as negative forces as well. The first weekly Winter Wheat Conditions report of the year showed that 58% of the crop is rated good/excellent compared to 37% last year. The spring crop is already 8% planted as compared to 1% last year. The 10 year average for this time of year is 2%. Outside market forces added to the negative tone early yesterday. Ethiopia bought 35,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia. Reports that Morocco's grain harvest could be down to as low as 3 million tonnes from 8.4 million tonnes last year (due to drought) has the USDA attache indicating imports of more than 5 million tonnes from near 3.2 million last year. While the spring wheat planted area has been restricted in the US by a shift to other grains, traders see excellent weather in the Canadian Prairies for planting this season. The region has lost acres to flooding in each of the past two seasons and saw a drop of near 6 million acres last year due to floods. India is offering wheat in a tender to Bangladesh. Libya is tendering for 30,000 tonnes of durum wheat.
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