Timely Rains Fall on Plains, Corn Belt and Weigh on Markets

March 20, 2012 04:07 AM

What Traders are Talking About:

* Rains fall, more on the day. Rains were seen across areas of the Plains and Corn Belt yesterday, with some locations receiving heavy rainfall. More rain is forecast today... and the next couple of days. The combination of unseasonably warm temps and rains will boost winter wheat crop development, which is already running around 10 days to two weeks ahead of normal in many areas. The rains will also boost soil moisture ahead of corn planting.

The long and short of it: Weather is currently seen as price-negative, for wheat and corn, in particular.

* Argentine truckers continue to strike. A meeting Monday between leaders of the truckers union and government officials failed to produce a resolution. Reports out of the country indicate no further talks are scheduled at this time so the strike will continue indefinitely. There's still hope a relatively quick resolution will be reached as Argentina's grain harvest is just getting underway. But this is a continuation of a dispute by truckers from last fall and they are contending the Argentine government has not lived up to agreements reached at that time, so it could increase tensions and complicate talks now. In addition to the trucker strike, it's also possible dockworkers could restart their work stoppage if demands for better working conditions and reduced hours are not met by port managers.

The long and short of it: With Argentina's main grain shipping season about to get underway, the labor situation is sketchy. At a minimum, foreign buyers will have questions about their ability to get shipments in a timely manner.

* Gartman exiting corn and soybeans. After Monday's performance that featured daily reversals (or near reversals) in corn and soybeans, widely followed commodity trader Dennis Gartman says he's exiting positions in both markets. And others are expected to follow suit.

The long and short of it: How funds react to the wave of liquidation pressure will be key. If the initial wave of price pressure triggers more selling, losses could mount in a hurry. But if the lower open after yesterday's losses attracts fresh buying, it would signal attitudes are bullish and price breaks are seen as a buying opportunity.


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