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Anxiously Awaiting USDA Reports

06:28AM Feb 07, 2012

What Traders are Talking About:

* Waiting on USDA data. The next two days will be comprised mostly of position squaring as traders wait on USDA's February crop reports. Most of the attention is on the South American crop estimates, although the reality is USDA is playing catch-up and significant cuts to Argentine or Brazilian forecasts shouldn't shock the market. Still, traders are likely to display caution ahead of the data.

The long and short of it: Typically, the February reports don't provide much in terms of market-moving data, but traders aren't likely to bet too heavily on either side of the market, just in case USDA throws a curve ball -- again.

* Planted acreage getting more attention. USDA's Prospective Plantings Report won't be released until March 30, but planted acreage is starting to draw traders' attention. An initial poll of 24 analysts by Reuters puts corn planted acreage at 94.2 million, while soybean plantings are pegged at 75.3 million acres. Every analyst polled sees corn acres up from 91.9 million acres last year, with a range of guesses from 92.7 million acres to 95.0 million acres. The average guess would be the highest planted corn acres since 1944. For soybeans, the range of estimates is from 73.8 million to 77.5 million acres compared to planted acres of 75.0 million last year.

The long and short of it: This initial Reuters poll lacks a "shock factor" as the numbers are in line with what many market participants have generally been expecting.

* Cautiously optimistic on Greece. Greek leaders are still debating whether to accept terms needed to secure the 130 billion euro ($170 billion) rescue funding needed to avoid defaulting on sovereign debt. While it's believed Greece will adopt needed measures to stay solvent, the drawn-out debacle has proven to be anything but a sure bet. As a result, the best way to describe traders' attitudes is cautiously optimistic.

The long and short of it: Because of the potential impact on the U.S. dollar index, grain traders continue to watch the Greece situation closely.


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