What Traders are Talking About:
* South American weather update. Scattered rains were seen in areas of La Pampa and Cordoba, Argentina, yesterday although overall conditions across the country remain stressful amid general hot and dry weather. Forecasts call for conditions to remain generally hot and dry through the 10-day window. Any scattered rains will do little to relieve crop stress given high temps. In Brazil, scattered rains are forecast for Parana, Mato Grosso do Sul and northern Rio Grande do Sul today and tomorrow. Temps are expected to be near normal. A return of hot, dry conditions is expected by Tuesday and Wednesday next week.
The long and short of it: The most stressful conditions remain in Argentina. Temps aren't expected to be as hot and rainfall chances are better in Brazil.
* Exchange: Weather causing 'irreversible' damage to Argentine corn. Hot, dry conditions have caused Argentine farmers to halt corn planting, according to the weekly update from the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange. The exchange says 80% of an estimated 3.74 million hectares (9.24 million acres) of corn has been seeded. Much of the early planted corn is suffering "irreversible" yield damage from the adverse weather. Meanwhile, 81% of an expected 18.25 million hectares (46.58 million acres) of soybeans have been seeded. The exchange says fields are dry in parts of Cordoba, La Pampa, Buenos Aires and Santa Fe, but conditions are good across other regions.
The long and short of it: The hot, dry conditions have come at the wrong time for the corn crop, much of which is pollinating or will be pollinating soon. Beans have a chance to recover if timely rains are seen in January.
* 2011 in review. 2011 was another very exciting (and volatile) year for ag commodities. Here's a breakdown of how the markets I watch most closely on a daily basis performed in 2011 (as of Dec. 29 close). Corn: a low of $5.72 1/4 in October; high of $7.99 3/4 in June; gain of 9 cents for the year. Soybeans: low of $10.94 1/4 in December; high of $14.65 in August; loss of $2.06 for the year. Chicago wheat: low of $5.72 1/2 in November; high of $8.93 1/4 in February; loss of $1.49 for the year. Live cattle: low of $100.75 in June; high of $125.375 in November; gain of $14.00 for the year. Lean hogs: low of $77.25 in January; high of $106.00 in August; gain of $4.225 for the year.
* Holiday trading schedule. Grain and livestock markets will observe normal trading hours today ahead of the extended holiday weekend. All markets and government offices are closed Monday, Jan. 2. Post-holiday trading will resume with the day session on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
* Happy New Year! I'd like to extend a warm New Year's wish to all of my loyal readers. Have a happy and safe holiday celebration!
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