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USDA Stocks report spurs corn bulls

Jeff Caldwell 09/28/2012 @ 7:49am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

An "intermediate bottom" may now be in for the corn market.

The corn stocks number in Friday's Quarterly Grain Stocks report came in at the low end of previous trade estimates at 988 million bushels, down 12% from a year ago. That's a sign that not quite enough rationing has gone on over the last few weeks to slow demand, and much of that's coming from the livestock sector.

Shortly after the release of Friday's report, nearby corn futures soared 21 cents.

"What you have to say is feed usage was much bigger than people thought. We have a bigger percentage of hogs on feed and heavier weights on cattle," says broker and analyst Don Roose with U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa. "We've slowed exports and ethanol is about on pace with what the government says. We haven't slowed feed demand enough."

As a result, Roose says an "intermediate bottom" is in for the corn market until the market sees greater signs that rationing has ratcheted up. The livestock sector will most likely be the one getting the most attention, he adds.

Elsewhere in Friday's report, the government pegged soybean stocks at 169 million bushels, higher than the average trade estimate of 132 million. Wheat stocks were pegged at 2.10 billion bushels, down 2% from a year ago and 9% from last month's estimate. Previous trade estimates had that number closer to 2.281 billion bushels, analysts say. Immediately after the release of Friday's report, nearby wheat futures jumped 18 cents in response to the lower stocks number.

Moving forward, Roose says the bottom established by Friday's Stocks report for corn will likely extend into a post-harvest rally, then attention will focus even more sharply down south.

"We'll see what kind of movement there is," he says. "We'll be watching what kind of crop South America gets."

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