What is in this article?:
- Corn prices looking for direction
- Corn export prospects mixed
- A number of factors continue to influence corn prices, with the market trying to weigh the negative versus the positive factors.
- There is some concern about the large, long positions held by both index and managed funds and the possible negative impact of liquidation of some of those positions.
- One of the largest uncertainties is the fate of the ethanol blender's tax credit.
Corn export prospects mixed
Prospects for corn exports are a bit mixed at this point. China denies it plans to import significant quantities of corn from any source in the near future. At the same time, many analysts believe that China will need to import more substantial amounts of corn yet this marketing year.
"On another front, ongoing wet weather is affecting the quality of the Australian wheat crop, suggesting that a larger portion of that crop will be feed wheat rather than milling-quality wheat. More feed wheat in the world market could complete with corn exports," Good said.
On the supply side, only modest and scattered rainfall in central and eastern portions of Argentina keeps conditions there very dry. Planting has been slowed, and concerns about crop size remain. A shortfall in Argentine production would support U.S. corn exports during the last half of the 2010-11 marketing year.
In the United States, the hard red winter wheat crop has gone into dormancy under generally dry conditions and with very low condition ratings. As of Nov. 28, only 37 percent of the crop in Kansas and 44 percent of the crop in Oklahoma were rated in good or excellent condition, he said.
"The fate of that crop will not only be important to the wheat market but might be important for corn. Lower wheat production could provide a modest boost for corn feeding, but very poor winter wheat conditions next spring could result in some replanting to other crops, including feed grains," he said.
A better assessment of the Argentine corn crop will also be available in January, Good said.
"It is likely that corn prices will continue to trade in a relatively wide range with daily price changes influenced by the 'news of the day.' A substantial rally or decline in prices would require that fundamental factors begin to align in either a positive or negative direction. Those factors will be revealed in fairly quick progression over the next six weeks," he said.