Chicago agricultural commodities close mixed over the week

BY  | FROM  | 2018-02-25 15:44

Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) agricultural commodities closed mixed over the trading week which ended Feb. 23, with soybean futures surging on hot and dry weather for major soybean exporter Argentina.

The most active corn contract for March delivery fell 1.25 cent weekly, or 0.34 percent, to 3.6625 dollars per bushel. March wheat delivery went down 5.5 cents, or 1.2 percent, to 4.5225 dollars per bushel. March soybeans added 14.75 cents, or 1.44 percent, to 10.3625 dollars per bushel over the week.

Corn futures ended the week slightly lower. The rally has paused amid recent sizeable short covering and partially as dryness concerns are easing across the heart of the Midwest.

However, it remains that Argentina crop size is being ratcheted down on a weekly basis, and amid less than ideal weather in South Africa, it's possible that total Southern Hemisphere corn production will exist in a range of 141-142 million tons vs. 157 tons last year.

U.S. corn was already the world's cheapest feed grain, and amid steady and higher global barley and feed wheat prices, U.S. weekly export sales will continue some 2-3 times the average needed to meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture's forecast.

Wheat futures this week ended slightly lower. Unlike corn, wheat is not being driven by demand, but rather by ongoing drought expansion across the U.S. Plains, and to some extent logistical issues in Canada and Russia.

Bitterly cold temps have slowed grain transportation in these two countries, and overall this has helped keep world cash wheat prices firm.

La Nina is likely to weaken beyond the next 30 days or so, but operational models still maintain complete dryness in southwest U.S. through mid-March.

And amid the incredible GDP growth in India, and ongoing U.S. drought, pressure will be placed for another year of big wheat yields in 2018.

Soybean and soy meal markets held gains and were higher at the end of the holiday shortened trading week, confirming the previous week's technical breakout.

The market's focus remains on Argentine crops, where only light and limited rains fell during the week. Moreover, the weather models have yet to show an significant change in the ongoing dry weather trend, with much of the soybean belt forecast to see less than an inch of rain over the next 10 days.

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