Free Commentary

By: Dan Hueber –

Indeed, it does turn out the this has been a year wherein the bulls were able to dine on a rather tasteless turkey with limited side dishes back at Thanksgiving but the bears are preparing for a larger Christmas feast.  With there is one more session of trade before we halt trade for the holiday, if we were to look at current prices compared with the close the day before Thanksgiving we would find March wheat down a bit over 20-cents, March corn down 13-cents and March beans down 34-cents.  Obviously, the only gifts that the bears were interested in this Christmas were for themselves.  I suggest that a visit from Jacob Marley and a ghost from Christmas future(s) would in order over the weekend to remind them that the outlook could be much different in the year ahead.

Seeing that it is Thursday we do have exports sales to mull over and numbers, which not necessarily poor, were lower for the three major crops.  At the bottom of the heap is wheat, which for the week ending December 15th came in at 297,800 MT or 10.94 million bushels. This figure was 44% below last week and 47% under the 4-week average.  Top sales, as they were, Nigeria with 101.7k MT, followed by Mozambique at 42k and Indonesia with 42k.  Corn sales were by no means this poor but they did fall 18% from last week and were 8% below the 4-week average with a number of 1,251,000 MT or 49.26 million bushels.  On the top of the list was Japan purchasing 535.8k MT, followed by Mexico with 372.2k and rounding out the top three we find South Korea with 125k.  In addition to the weekly numbers, the USDA did announce additional sales of 100.4k MT of corn to Mexico for this week. On almost any given week the bean sales would look quite impressive but as it turns out they were 10% lower than last at 1,812,700 MT or 66.62 million bushels.  Actually I cannot even write that with a straight face as those numbers continue to stun.  As you would expect, the top purchaser was China with 1,249,500 MT followed by Thailand with 85.3k MT and finally Japan with 66.6k (Is that an evil number?)

Not all market action in the ag sector has been discouraging this week as cattle and hogs have either extended or maintained their post fall advance and let us never forget that we need a healthy, financially and otherwise, livestock sector to maintain a healthy grain trade.  While I have not heard it for some time, there used to be a saying the if you hold a hog by the tail it will eventually pull you out of the mud.  Possibly that is wisdom we should not lose sight of.