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While I suspect that if you reside in Colorado you may have a slightly different take on the weather but for much of the nation, spring and summer conditions have finally arrived and tillage equipment and planters have kicked into gear. Granted, much of the weekend activity will not be reflected in the reports to be issued this afternoon but considering that we were right at an average pace a week ago, we should at least have been able to maintain that status if not have pushed ahead of normal. The average pace for corn planted at this date is 13%. Markets appear to be basically nonplussed by the prospect of the planting pace which, as we have commented many times before, seems to provide less of a concern each passing year as we all recognize just how rapidly crops can be planted. Note that the rain in the plains will move east through the balance of the week which should slow down progress.
Over the weekend, undoubtedly the biggest commodity news story was the fact the the meeting in Doha held between the many major oil producing nations ended in a standoff as Iran refused to adhere to any kind of production cap as they try and rebuild market share after been locked out of many markets for decades now. As expected, crude oil markets did turn sharply lower once they opened with WTI actually gapping lower and at the extreme, Brent reaching down to test the $40 level. We should keep in perspective though that this is hardly a wipeout as we were at lower levels than this as we entered the month of April. Interestingly enough, the pressure does not seem to be creating much of a bleed over effect in the Ag sector so at least for now, the two appear to have decoupled.
The political situation in Brazil continues to remain in flux. Over the weekend the lower house voted to impeach President Rousseff so now the measure moves over to the Senate. Late season weather conditions have remained less than ideal for Argentina, which has continued to hamper not only harvest but the maturation of the late season corn. There continue to be stories/rumors of export business being switched from Argentine to US origin. Note that this may have also been helping boost the domestic corn sales as of late.
Of course on Friday we mentioned the earthquake that rocked Japan and now over the weekend a magnitude 7.8 quake has struck Ecuador. The most recent updates confirm at least 272 dead, over 1500 injured and countless more impacted in one fashion or another. Of course this is once again a stark reminder of how helpless we are when mother nature provides us with a violent surprise and also keeps in perspective how fragile our existence here can be. At a minimum may our thoughts and prayers go out to these people.
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