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Strong Domestic, International Demand Supports US Grain Prices

Strong Domestic, International Demand Supports US Grain Prices

18 April 2014

ANALYSIS - Strong domestic and international demand for US grains continues to underpin prices at relatively high levels, writes grain analysts at GeoGrain.

GeoGrainSoybeans and wheat moved higher for the week, while corn slipped a little. Weather for planting season and for the winter wheat crop supported prices as well. Planting progress started slowly, but is not a major concern yet. Traders have positioned themselves for the long holiday weekend.

Corn was the lone loser this week, but is down only 3 ¾ cents on the May contract. Unseasonably cold weather and below normal soil temperatures have kept many producers out of the fields thus far and the USDA reported only 3% planted as of Sunday. That planting progress is slightly behind the 5-year average which is at 6% typically.

Ethanol production increased this week by 43,000 barrels per day to 939,000 barrels per day. Export sales are running about 186 million bushels ahead of the seasonal pace to meet USDA projections and were reported as 601,900 MT this week for the '13/'14 marketing year. Weather conditions and planting progress will drive the markets coming out of the long holiday weekend.

SoybeansSoybeans were the leader to the upside this week gaining 54 cents on the front-month May contract. Concerns surrounding tight supplies have been the driving force. Further support came from domestic crush figures adding to the anxiousness about supplies.

The crush numbers reported by NOPA on Tuesday were well above the highest analysts' estimates at 153.84 million bushels crushed during March. Several days this week, the May soybeans hit new contract highs.

Export sales are running about 155 million bushels ahead of the seasonal pace to meet USDA projections and were reported as a slim 19,200 MT for the '13/'14 marketing year. Little to no planting progress has been made and the USDA will wait at least another week before reporting on soybean planting progress.

Wheat moved higher by 24 ½ cents on the week as a cold spell in the Southern Plains threatened the winter wheat crop. The early estimates are that up to 10% of the crop incurred some damage as a result of the cold temperatures.

Dryness remains a factor, but some relief may come this weekend with widespread, although light, showers are expected. The good-to-excellent ratings slipped further to 34% in last Monday's report. Export sales beat expectations and were reported as 438,000 MT for the '13/'14 marketing year.

Domestic and international demand drove prices for much of this week, as did, weather. As we move through planting season, weather and planting progress will be the driving forces for the next few weeks.

The markets are closed for the Good Friday holiday and will reopen on Sunday evening at the usual time for trading.

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