By Kirk Maltais
--Corn contracts for May delivery were up 0.5% at $3.62 3/4 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade on Monday, with snow cover in the Midwest delaying planting decisions on soybeans and corn.
--May soybean contracts rose 0.4% at $8.98 3/4 a bushel.
--Wheat contracts for May delivery fell 1.1% at $4.59 1/2 a bushel.
Bad Weather Supports Ags: The blizzard that swept through the Midwest last week provided support for agricultural futures today. Traders are eyeing possible planting delays due to the storm, which is helpful for a market that, without a trade deal with China, has accumulated billions of metric tons of excess supply for the 2018/19 marketing year. "The crop can go in fast, but it's the middle of April with a lot of areas still seeing a lot of snow on the ground," says Doug Bergman of RCM Alternatives. "The inability of the market to break on last week's bearish crop report combined with the bad weather... makes me think downside is limited for now."
Foreign Competition Tough: Wheat futures fell amid indications that the U.S. is still not competitive versus lower-priced varieties worldwide, namely Russian wheat. "U.S. wheat was not competitive with Russia for the latest Egypt sales," says Craig Turner of Daniels Trading. The lack of competition is also evident when looking U.S. export inspections data today, which shows wheat export inspections on the low-end of analyst estimates. Additionally, no Middle-Eastern buyers even ranked as the top export destinations, with the Philippines taking the top spot with 152,859 metric tons.
Corn Still Short: Managed money firms are continuing to add to their large position in corn futures on the CBOT, with traders now holding a nearly 300,000-contract net short position. According to commitment of trader's data released late Friday by the CFTC, managed money traders added 23,594 contracts to their short position, giving them 471,354 contracts in total that are short corn - a net short position of 289,859 contracts. However, continued adverse weather like what hit the Midwest last week could change the fund's appetite for shorting corn. "If the unfavourable weather conditions in the US growing areas persist for any prolonged period and further delay planting, this could prompt position squaring and push up the corn price significantly," says Commerzbank.
New Soybean Sale: The USDA confirmed this morning that 140,000 metric tons of soybeans exports were sold for delivery to unknown destinations during the 2018/19 marketing year. Traders say that "unknown destinations" often means that China is the destination. The sale comes following news of a similar sales last week. Although more export purchases of U.S. soybeans is bullish for the market, traders have been concerned that an increased reliance of China on U.S. pork cuts into their purchases of animal feed, thusly cutting into foreign soybeans purchases.
-The EIA releases its weekly update on ethanol production and inventories at 10:30 a.m. EDT on Wednesday.
-The USDA will release its latest weekly export sales numbers at 8:30 a.m. EDT on Thursday.