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As one of a panel of speakers at a winter agricultural marketing meeting recently, it hit me that times have changed. 

In the past, these gatherings were littered with speaker after speaker offering up their perspectives on the direction of the corn, soybean and wheat markets. The attendees walked away with some idea where their crop prices might be six months down the road.


Grain prices hit 30-month highs

CHICAGO, Illinois ( 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.


USDA data seen bullish

CHICAGO, Illinois ( USDA released bullish Crop Report data Wednesday, market traders and analysts say.

In its January World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) Report, the USDA dropped the U.S. 2010 corn and soybean production and ending stocks. Worldwide, the USDA  cut the Argentine corn production estimate, due to a continued drought weather pattern that is hurting that country's pollination season.


Argentina weather shows light showers

Argentina Soybean Prospects: Hot, dry weather or just a few light showers through the main growing area during the next 7 days will increase stress to the crop.  

SUMMARY- Dry across eastern and southeast areas, showers of 0.10-0.50 inch 

(3-13 mm) across northwest areas during the weekend period. Temperatures 88-95F 




  TODAY...Mostly dry or a few light showers. Temperatures 86-94F (30-34C). 

  TONIGHT...Mostly dry conditions or a few light showers. Temperatures 61-69F 



USDA drops U.S. grain supplies

CHICAGO, Illinois ( USDA released neutral-to-bearish grain reserve numbers Friday. 

In its December Supply/Demand Report, the government agency lowered the amount of U.S. corn and soybeans expected to be left over at the start of the new marketing year of September 1, 2011 for corn and beans and June 1, 2011 for wheat.


Louise Gartner: Wheat struggles to hold support

It was another disappointing week for the grain complex as it was mostly more fund selling to start the week, with any meager attempt to rally only met by more selling and fund liquidation. Wheat could be called the winner, if there was one, as it managed to hold major supports (for the most part) while corn and soybeans just saw more pressure to end the week.


Tim Hannagan: A continued unwinding

Some strange and some not so strange price action occurred since Tuesday. 

Wednesday and Thursday saw corn and wheat continue their post USDA crop report profit-taking correction with a Wednesday low on corn of 565 and Thursday low of 557 and wheat low Wednesday at 695 and Thursday 7.016. By Thursday's low corn had pulled $.51 off our Tuesday report day high and wheat $.65 off report day highs. 


China Carries A Big Stick

Following talk of China raising its interest rates to cool its economy, the commodity markets tanked Friday. Specifically, the China news dropped the CME Group corn prices to their daily low limit of 30 cents, soybeans to their limit of 70 cents under, and rice its 50-cent limit. Sugar prices experienced a dramatic 23% price drop from their previous day’s close. Plus, the CRB, a commodities index benchmark, fell 2%, culminating its largest 3-week drop ever.

This highlights the power that China wields on commodity markets.


Bullish USDA data released Tuesday

The USDA released bullish data for Tuesday’s CME Group grain markets. The U.S. farmers will grow less corn than expected, the government agency says.

In its November Crop Production Report, the USDA pegged the U.S. 2010-11 corn production at 12.540 billion bushels compared to its October estimate of 12.664 billion and the average trade estimate of 12.545 billion bushels.

Ron and Sue Mortensen: It's the Dollar

Today’s sharp move higher in commodity prices can be totally blamed on the dollar and the state of the US economy.  Although a sharply lower dollar can often provoke an upside spike in prices, why was today’s move so extreme?


The Fed’s announcement yesterday of a substantial QE program has renewed fears of inflation, even hyper-inflation.  The market has gone from a desire for a little inflation (so our economic situation does not turn out like Japan’s “lost decade”) to worries that the Fed has created too much inflationary pressure in the future.