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Grains stick higher; will it continue?

Jeff Caldwell 11/01/2012 @ 10:02am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Gains remain in double digits in the soybean pit, but they're quickly drying up in corn and wheat as the markets open Thursday morning.

At the open, the December corn futures contract was 2 3/4 cents higher at $7.58 1/2 and December wheat was 1 3/4 cents higher at $8.66 1/4. Meanwhile, January soybeans opened 16 cents higher at $15.64 3/4 per bushel.

Though earlier gains have slipped a bit after stronger prices Wednesday and throughout the overnight trade preceding Thursday's opening bell, there's growing evidence that a new trading range could be developing in corn based on demand and thus far, relatively small amounts of farmer-selling around the country, says Roach Ag Marketing, Ltd.'s John Roach.

"After spending the month of October trading sideways, December corn started November pushing toward the upper half of October’s range of trade," he said Thursday morning. "We expect farmer selling to remain slow as demand needs to be satisfied on nearly a daily basis. Be patient waiting for the next Sell Signal in corn, it should come before month end."

But, that's not as easy of a call to make in some parts of the country, especially considering there's still a lot of grain in the field yet, says Agriculture.com Marketing Talk contributor and Indiana farmer ECIN.

"I just don't think we will see where we are headed until December or January. Why? We still have new crop pressure and  there's corn still coming in," he says. "Here in the eastern part [of the Corn Belt], we still have corn out, it's getting late and it may be a slow go to get it out after Sandy did her part."

Another variable in play, in terms of how solid of a floor sits under current price levels, is the relatively slow volume of trading in the last few weeks. That's not necessarily going to improve anytime too soon, but macro factors like next Tuesday's national elections could ease some of the uncertainty that's driving the macro-level anxieties.

"Most in the business have been commenting on how bad the volumes have been last month. I think it has a lot to do with the fiscal cliff, the election, high prices and a very very uncertain future. The turning of the calendar page will not change any of that but the passing of time will help," says Scott Shellady, Trean Group trader and options specialist and Agriculture.com Market Analyst. "Wheat corn and beans are all higher. Talk of demand and a tighter crops have got things pretty well underpinned."

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