The corn market suffered from a dearth of fresh news Thursday, with diminished export sales apparently remaining the dominant fundamental factor. Indeed, pragmatic considerations may become much more important to traders during the days ahead. For example, during the recent drop large speculators cut their long positions to their lowest level since June. Nearby futures are also approaching technically oversold levels. Moreover, the March contract is trading just above major support associated with the $6.83 1/2-$6.90 1/2 chart gap created over Independence Day. If bears cannot force nearby prices through that gap, the market could turn decisively higher. Conversely, the $7.00 level may emerge as significant resistance. March corn ended the day having slipped 2 1/4 cents to $6.91/bushel and December fell 3 1/4 cents to $5.96.
Soybean futures were seemingly boosted by concerns about Malaysian flooding and its impact upon the global vegetable oil market (e.g. palm and soybean oil) in Wednesday night trading. Talk of improving Chinese buying apparently supported the market as well, with traders responding well to sales announced the day before. However, comments by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid indicating no deal on the so-called U.S. fiscal cliff undercut the equity markets and boosted the dollar. Neither of those developments is helpful for the agricultural markets, since they imply reduced demand from domestic and international customers, respectively. Finally, the legume market may have suffered from news that Argentine plantings have not suffered from excessive moisture in recent weeks, since Chicago traders were expecting significant reductions. January beans settled 5 1/4 cents to $14.19 1/4 per bushel, whereas January soyoil rose 0.16 cents to 48.45 cents/pound and January meal sank $1.1 to $430.2/ton.
The wheat market also continued losing ground Thursday morning, with traders concentrating upon the slowness of recent export sales. Many in the industry view U.S. wheat as being the cheapest on the global stage, so the limited movement seems to be suggesting golden grain values will have to decline around the world. Disappointing financial market action is not helping wheat prospects either. Bulls cannot be happy with futures lack of response to the persistent drought over the Southern Plains either, since lack of moisture could substantially reduce 2012-13 grain production. March CBOT wheat slid 2 1/2 cents to $7.72/bushel Thursday, while March KCBT wheat edged 1/2 cent lower to $8.24 and March MGE futures tumbled 5 cents to $8.64.