July wheat was trading 5 1/2 cents higher late in the overnight session. Outside market forces look positive today with a weak US dollar and strength in metal and equity markets. The US soft red crop in the eastern Corn Belt has progressed fast enough for some increased crop concerns for the cold weather forecast for later this week and early next week. The weekly Winter Wheat Conditions report showed that 63% of the crop was rated good/excellent compared to 64% last week and 35% last year. The 10 year average for this time of year is 49%. The crop is 42% headed as compared with 20% last year and 15% as normal for this time of the year. Traders see headed wheat as vulnerable to cold weather damage. The weekly Spring Wheat Planting report showed that 57% of the crop is planted compared to 37% last week and 6% last year. The 10 year average for this time of year is 22%. The previous high was 52% in 1988. South Dakota is 64% emerged from 7% as average for this time of the year. May wheat closed moderately higher on the session yesterday with talk of the oversold condition of the market and some concerns for weather. Weekly export inspections came in at 24.3 million bushels which was above the range of estimates for the report and compares with 18.3 million bushels necessary each week to reach the USDA projection. Trend-following fund traders (non-commercial less index funds) held a near record net short position of 96,705 contracts as of April 17th and this helped to support as traders fear that it will not take much in the way of positive news to see more short-covering. Ukraine wheat production for 2012 is expected in the 11-14 million tonnes range according to weather officials. The Ag minister in March pegged the crop at 14 million tonnes as compared with 22.3 million tonnes last year. Jordon is in the market for 100,000 tonnes of optional origin. Traders will monitor the Stats Canada planted acreage estimates today.
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