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Farm markets close lower

Updated: 03/23/2011 @ 3:02pm

CHICAGO, Illinois (Agriculture.com)--The CME Group grain and soybean markets settled lower Wednesday, with still no confirmation of any Chinese purchases of U.S. corn and uncertainty ahead of the USDA March 31 Report, analysts say.

The May corn futures settled 5 3/4 cents lower at $6.81. The May soybean contract closed 14 1/4 cents lower at $13.51 1/4.  The May wheat futures ended 8 cents lower at $7.14 1/4. The May soybean meal futures settled $6.40 per short ton lower at $360.00. The May soyoil futures settled $0.38 lower at $55.48.

In the outside markets, the NYMEX crude oil is $0.62 per barrel higher, the dollar is higher, and the Dow Jones Industrials are up 79 points.

Traders are disappointed that no confirmation has been made on China's purchases of U.S. corn. As a result, there is no new news to trade.

One CME Group floor trader, requesting anonymity, says the market is still trying to figure out the talk that China bought U.S. corn. "I learned something recently. If the corn sales are contracted on an FOB  (free on board) basis, they are not required to be reported, until the shipping vessel has been assigned. That might explain the lack of info or confusion, regarding these alleged sales."

The trader adds, "The market is essentially waiting for the March 31 report. Also, a risk premium for a wet spring planting season is in play, as well as ethanol usage. Tomorrow's weekly exports will have an affect and of course the dollar. Japan seems to be on the back-burner for now. Most analysts feel the Japan situation has a negative short term impact, positive longer term."

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