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Grains Week Ahead-Clash of weather models to pit bulls vs bears
2012年5月28日 / 下午3点03分 / 5 年前

Grains Week Ahead-Clash of weather models to pit bulls vs bears

* Weather at center stage in grains
    * Models offer forecasts for bulls and bears
    * Export demand back on front burner
    * Strong dollar may weigh on export demand

    By K.T. Arasu	
    CHICAGO, May 28 (Reuters) - Conflicting forecasts by
European and U.S. weather models for the U.S. Midwestern grain
belt this week -- a time when rains are essential for the
fledgling corn crop -- may cause a tug-of-war between bulls and
bears in the grain markets.
    The point of contention between the two weather models is if
there will be substantial or meager rains in the Midwest on
Wednesday night into Thursday morning. The actual outcome could
rally or tumble Chicago Board of Trade corn futures.	
    Meteorologist David Streit of Commodity Weather Group said
the U.S. weather model, as of Friday afternoon, was showing
rains across 75 percent of the Midwest while the European model
forecast rain for just 25 percent of the region.	
    "There is a big difference about that system. The American
model shows extensive rains in the south and east of the Midwest
while the European model shows the best rains will be in the
(Mississippi) Delta and eastern quarter of the Midwest."	
    He said the European model had a slight edge over the U.S.
one in terms of proven accuracy in forecasting weather over the
6- to 10-day period, adding that the key difference between the
two comes from the way they analyze atmospheric data.	
    Corn planting in the Midwest got off to a record start in
March due to the mildest winter in decades and the favorable
conditions for the crop led the U.S. Department of Agriculture
earlier this month to forecast a record crop this year.	
    Since then, some areas of the Midwest -- where a bulk of the
country's corn and soybeans are grown -- have turned dry,
raising concerns the crop could suffer without timely rains.	
    Any damage to the crop in the world's largest exporter of
the grain could trigger world-wide price hikes, especially
because markets had been counting on a large crop this year. A
large crop is needed to replenish U.S. stocks that are set to
fall to their lowest in 16 years this summer due to a
disappointing harvest in 2011.	
    Corn futures had been under pressure due to prospects for a
bumper U.S. crop this year, with the December contract,
which reflects this year's harvest time price, hovering at a
15-month low.	
    The weather watch could start this weekend, when 1/2 to 1
inch of rain is forecast on Sunday night into Monday over the
northwestern half of the Midwest from Nebraska to Wisconsin.	
    "The key is going to be how much rain there is over the
weekend. Three-quarter of an inch without good coverage will not
be good. If the weather is hot and dry it could impact some of
the advanced corn in Southern locations," said Michael
Cordonnier of consultancy Soybean and Corn Advisor.	
    "If the hot and dry weather at the end of May is the start
of a pattern, that is not good at all," he said, adding that the
corn crop in the Mississippi Delta was heading into pollination
and therefore needed sufficient rains to develop good yields.	
    "Stress in the crop pre-pollination could lock in poor
yields," he said. "If the crops do not recharge (with moisture)
soon, things could go downhill."	
    Corn and soybeans are planted earlier in the Southern belt
than in the Midwest because of warmer weather. The southern
harvest is set to kick off about two weeks earlier in August
this year as a mild winter allowed for early seeding.	
    Much of the Southern corn goes into the export channel
because of its close proximity to terminals at the U.S. Gulf.	
    Grains analyst Dan Cekander of Newedge USA said some of the
corn plants in central Illinois were showing signs of heat
stress, indicated by leaves curling up.	
    "Leaves are rolled up tight in the afternoon in central
Illinois," he said, adding that weather would be a key market
factor this week.	
    The corn crop in the Midwest typically goes through the
yield-setting pollination stage in July, but the process could
come earlier this year due to early seeding.	
    The soybean crop, which is usually planted after the corn
crop in the Midwest, goes through its critical development stage
in August when it sets pods, determining yields.	
    Traders will also be on the look out for export demand this
week in the wake of more competitive prices for corn and
soybeans in Brazil and Argentina.	
    There are also concerns over Chinese demand due to slowing
growth in Europe, its biggest trading partner.	
    Traders said China and other importers might be shifting
their demand to cheaper supplies in South America after export
sales of U.S. corn fell below trade expectations in the latest
reporting week and China cancelled some cargoes of U.S. soy.	
    Grains analyst Don Roose of US Commodities in West Des
Moines, Iowa, said prices for soybeans were substantially lower
in competitor Brazil.	
    "Brazil's prices are 50 to 60 cents lower. Our export
business is slipping partly due to the dollar," he said.	
    The dollar index, a measure of the greenback against
a basket of major currencies, is at its highest level in about
20 months while the Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index 
was the lowest in about 20 months.	
    The stronger dollar could curb export demand for grains this
week, but last week's lower prices may be a counter that.	
    "Demand is on the front burner," said grains analyst Mike
Zuzolo of Global Commodity Analytics, adding that corn export
sales last week were 57 percent below the four-week average.

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