Futures markets await U.S.D.A. data on Friday

by Ron Sterk
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KANSAS CITY — Grain and oilseed futures trading much of this week will be defined by caution in anticipation of Friday’s myriad of data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Corn and soybean futures already moved lower last week in part on early trade expectations of bearish corn and soybean data from the U.S.D.A. Those markets helped pull wheat futures to six month lows. But futures were trading higher early on Jan. 7 on ideas recent futures price declines may have been overdone.

On Jan. 11 the U.S.D.A. will release its annual Crop Production 2012 Summary, with final row crop production estimates, along with its Winter Wheat Seedings report, which will provide the first survey-based estimates of hard red, soft red and white winter wheat and desert durum planted area. In addition, the U.S.D.A. will issue its quarterly Grain Stocks report with Dec. 1, 2012, estimates of on-farm and commercial grain and oilseed holdings. Also scheduled for release will be Rice Stocks and monthly Crop Production, which will contain only updated 2012-13 citrus estimates.

Also on tap is the key World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report with potentially revised U.S. and world supply and use data for key grains, oilseeds and sugar.

Early surveys have indicated the trade expects the U.S.D.A. to slightly raise its estimate of U.S. 2012 soybean production but slightly lower its corn number from the latest estimates in November. Traders expect a record high forecast of Brazilian soybean production for 2012-13, at nearly 82 million tonnes, which would surpass U.S. outturn for the first time ever. U.S. Dec. 1 corn and soybean stocks are expected lower than a year earlier, with soybean supplies seen down sharply.

The trade expects winter wheat area seeded in 2012 for harvest in 2013 to be the highest since 2009, and Dec. 1 stocks of all wheat to increase slightly from a year earlier. 

A new “twist” to this January’s U.S.D.A. reports is a change in release time, to 11:00 a.m. Central Time, during the heart of the futures’ day session, which the U.S.D.A. has indicated will be the release time going forward. The reports were previously released at 7:30 a.m. Central time, which had prompted futures exchanges to open their day sessions earlier than usual.
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