Crops Analysis (VIP) -- March 18, 2013

March 18, 2013 10:04 AM


Price action: Corn futures fought back from earlier losses to finish steady to 3 cents higher, with old-crop contracts leading gains. Futures ended high-range.

Fundamental analysis: Today's price gains may not seem overly impressive at first glance, but corn's ability to close higher in the face of widespread risk aversion suggests the market may see more near-term price strength. It's important to keep a close watch on the macro-economic situation, however, as a any additional euro-zone concerns would make it hard for corn to attract buying interest.

Export demand remains a concern for corn traders, but weekly export inspections topped trade expectations and provided a modest boost as futures worked off their daily lows.

Technical analysis: May corn futures continue to inch higher, but are struggling to find active buying interest above $7.00. Bulls still have a lot of ground to cover before they force a test of tough resistance at the February high of $7.47 1/2.

Hedgers: 100% sold on 2012-crop in the cash market. No 2013-crop sales advised yet.

Cash-only marketers: 75% sold on 2012-crop, including 15% for May 2013 delivery. No 2013-crop sales recommended yet.




Price action: Soybean futures closed 13 1/2 to 16 1/2 through the August contract. September beans were 5 3/4 cents lower, while new-crop contracts ended 1 3/4 to 2 1/2 cents lower on the day.

Fundamental analysis: Traders actively unwound bull spreads in the soybean market today. Incentive to do so came from widespread risk aversion and expectations Brazil's shipping season will hit full stride soon, curbing export demand for U.S. soybeans.

Adding to the demand thoughts, weekly soybean export inspections were lighter than anticipated at 8.927 million bu., though that was better than the "required" pace.

Also, temps didn't get as cold as expected across central Argentina over the weekend. While some of the soybean crop was nipped, a killing freeze was not seen.

Technical analysis: May soybean futures have clearly rolled over and are headed for a test of support at the February low at $13.93 1/2. A drop through that support would open risk to stronger support at the January low of $13.44 and the November low of $13.37 3/4.

Hedgers: 100% sold on 2012-crop in the cash market. No futures/options positions at this time. No 2013-crop sales advised yet.

Cash-only marketers: 75% sold on 2012-crop production for harvest delivery. No 2013-crop sales advised yet.




Price action: Wheat futures finished mostly 5 to 10 cents lower in Chicago, mostly 2 to 7 cents lower in Kansas City and mostly 6 to 8 cents lower in Minneapolis. Most contracts at all three exchanges ended near the middle of today's range.

Fundamental analysis: Like many commodities, wheat futures faced pressure from a broad risk-off stance today. With the U.S. dollar sharply higher, wheat futures were vulnerable to selling pressure. But the selling eased enough for futures to work off session lows late.

While export demand for U.S. wheat has improved recently, traders will watch the dollar closely as extended strength beyond recent gains could curb demand for U.S. supplies.

Technical analysis: July Chicago wheat futures closed lower for the first time in eight sessions. After a modest price recovery that failed to clear any key resistance levels, the contract is at risk of moving the next leg lower if it rolls over now. Key near-term support is at the March 7 low at $6.86.

Hedgers: 75% sold on 2012-crop in the cash market. No 2013-crop sales advised yet.

Cash-only marketers: 75% of 2012-crop is sold. No 2013-crop sales advised yet.




Price action: Cotton futures closed 175 and 151 points lower in the May and July contracts, respectively. New-crop contracts ended 14 to 43 points lower.

Fundamental analysis: Cotton futures were due for a corrective pullback following recent, strong gains. A broad-based risk-off stance today that included strong gains in the U.S. dollar index provided incentive for traders to take profits. Key now will be whether cotton futures show followthrough selling.

Pressure on new-crop futures was limited as traders anticipate a sharp drop in planted cotton acreage this year and a drop in 2013-14 ending stocks. That should limit selling interest unless old-crop futures clearly signal a top is in place.

Technical analysis: May cotton futures did no technical damage today despite the sharp losses. The uptrend from the fall lows remains firmly intact. Old resistance at 85.24 cents is key near-term support. A close below that level would suggest a major top has been posted.

Hedgers: 50% priced on expected 2012-crop production in the cash market.

Cash-only marketers: 50% priced on expected 2012-crop production in the cash market.


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