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Grain prices hit 30-month highs

01/12/2011 @ 9:37am

CHICAGO, Illinois (Agriculture.com)--After hitting limit-up price-points in the corn and soybean markets, and marking 30-month highs, the prices have backed off slightly, but still closed sharply higher. 

Overall, prices remain very strong with plenty of support coming from the USDA Crop, Supply/Demand Reports Wednesday.

The March corn futures settled 24 cents higher at $6.31. The March soybean contract closed 58 cents higher at $14.15. The March wheat futures ended 11 cents higher at $7.70 1/2. The March soybean meal futures settled $18.60 higher per short ton at $381.50. The March soyoil futures closed $1.37 higher at $57.98.

In the outside markets, the NYMEX crude oil is $0.70 per barrel higher, the dollar is lower, and the Dow Jones Industrials are up 94 points.

Joe Bedore, FC Stone's trading floor manager, says the funds did sell-off the market, at the close. "You knew they would. The funds will be active again tomorrow, rebalancing their portfolios, and then be done. So, one more day of the funds throwing their weight around."

Tim Hannagan, PFGBest.com senior grain analyst, says the report has been traded fund-style, which means over-buying. "That's how funds trade, over buy and sell, nothings small when you deal with billions of dollars."

The close tells us how the market will trade the overnight and open Thursday, Hannagan says. 

"When Thursday comes, the report pricing will be over and the trade will look ahead. With funds adding to their record long positions and further fattening with profits, we could expect late week profit-taking. Plus, profit-taking could be spurred by the approaching three-day holiday, with markets closed Monday and talk of rain in Argentina next week."

Jack Scoville, PRICE Futures Group vice-president, says today's big price move is backed by buying from speculators and inflation talk.

"Also, I understand some commercial buying is taking place in the options pits. The move today implies that CME March soybeans can trade to $14.30, then about $14.78 in the short term.  The numbers show a lot of tightness for both corn and beans. So, more upside is probable as long as demand holds," Scoville says. 

For corn, there is good commercial buying and good spec buying, but not much selling. "Holding this market higher, besides the USDA numbers, is the idea that supplies can get tighter with world weather, especially Argentine weather. Also, the dollar turning lower is a good sign for commodities," Scoville says.

Meanwhile, chart patterns are bullish for both corn and beans, Scoville says.