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News tidbits spark rally

Agriculture.com Staff 12/15/2006 @ 12:21pm

While several markets continue off their highs, the spark of fresh news crept in today, leading to a small rally. There was finally a private acreage estimate, which had been anticipated by the market for a couple of days.

The USDA export sales report showed all around strong sales. In addition, there was a large soybean sale to unknown destinations announced Thursday. Only the NOPA crush numbers were a little disappointing and bearish.

The pace of export sales would suggest that corn and soy sales have been stimulated by prices that have dropped 20 cents or so from the highs. Corn exports were 1.5 million metric tons and bean exports were 905,000 metric tons. If the market really needs to ration corn, then higher prices are necessary to choke off usage.

The news that really got the market going was the latest acreage estimate. It featured a 7.3 million acre increase in corn acres and a 5.2 million acre drop in soybean acres from the actual planted acres in 2006. This increase in corn acres is apparently not enough for the market, as December 2007 corn futures prices were up almost 8 cents on the close. Old crop prices were only up 3 1/2 cents at the end of the day.

The soybean oil stocks (in the crush report) were large. This points to softer demand, including reduced use of soyoil for biodiesel. Profitability in that industry has been reduced or eliminated as soyoil prices have rallied 4-5 cents since October.

The next two weeks will feature lighter volume, as Christmas and New Year's draw closer. Traders may take money off the table, closing out positions, or reduce their trading size. There's always the chance for a big market move, but more likely, prices will drift in smaller ranges than were seen during the September-November rally.

While several markets continue off their highs, the spark of fresh news crept in today, leading to a small rally. There was finally a private acreage estimate, which had been anticipated by the market for a couple of days.

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