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October 17, 2008

(See attached file: PR081017.pdf) (See attached file: PR081017.xlsx)

  • Futures ended the week mixed but finished on a positive note amid spillover support from corn and soybeans. The week started strong as heavy buying in U.S. equities and weakness in the dollar provided support to commodities, but profit-taking and a reversal in the dollar pushed futures lower mid-week before finishing stronger on Friday. The CBOT nearby contract closed 3 cents/bu higher at $5.66/bu, KCBT closed 8 cents lower, while the MGE ended 1 cent higher at $6.40/bu. Soybeans ended the week 19 cents/bu lower and corn closed down 5 cents/bu at $4.03/bu.
  • U.S. wheat export sales came in at 435,600 MT this week, down 15 percent from the previous week and 17 percent from the prior 4-week average, and slightly below trade estimates of 450,000 to 550,000 MT. Sales included 255,900 MT of HRW, 131,500 of HRS, 108,700 of SRW, and 33,000 MT of SW. Cumulative wheat sales are 66.1% of the USDA forecast for 2008/2009, up from the 5-year average of 55.5%. Sales of 276,000 TMT are needed each week to reach the USDA forecast.
  • Freight rates continued down this week with the Baltic Panamax Index declining 63 percent closing at 1110. Key rates to Japan were sharply lower this week with PNW/Japan off $11/MT and Gulf/Japan down $10/MT.
  • The U.S. winter wheat crop is 73 percent planted, advancing 14 points from the previous week and on-track with the 5-year average for this time of year. The crop is 46 percent emerged, slightly ahead of the 5-year average of 44 percent. Major planting efforts were evident in Indiana and Ohio, where more than 20 percent of the crop was planted during the week. Rain has helped the HRW wheat crop to a good start as we move into the winter months, but the additional moisture could delay seeding in some areas.

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