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October 31, 2008
(See attached file: PR081031.pdf) (See attached file: PR081031.xlsx)

  • Futures were sharply higher this week amid support from a weaker dollar and spillover from gains in corn and soybeans. The dollar lost ground against most major currencies this week, closing lower against the euro, Canadian dollar, and the Australian dollar. The CBOT nearby contract closed 20 cents/bu higher at $5.36/bu, KCBT closed 26 cents higher, while the MGE ended 46 cents higher at $6.48/bu. Soybeans ended the week 66 cents/bu higher and corn closed up 29 cents/bu at $4.02/bu.
  • U.S. export sales came in at 460,400 MT this week, up 20 percent from the previous week, but down 7 percent form the prior 4-week average. As of October 23, cumulative sales stood at 69 percent of USDA forecast for 2008/09 versus the 5-year average of 58.6 percent. For the week, HRW accounted for 182,300 MT bringing the total to 9.1 MMT, while SRW sales were 109,200 bringing the cumulative total to 98 percent of USDA forecast.
  • US farmers had planted 84 percent of the winter wheat crop, advancing five points from the previous week to put the pace four points behind the 5-year average. Planting activity was marked in Illinois and Indiana advancing 15 points each, but planting is well behind last year's pace due to a late corn harvest. Sixty-nine percent of the crop had emerged, three points ahead of last year, and on par with the 5-year average. NASS rated winter wheat 65 percent good to excellent compared to 55 percent at this time last year.
  • The International Grains Council (IGC) increased its world wheat production estimate by 7.0 MMT from last month to 683.0 MMT, and 3.0 MMT higher then USDA's October estimate. Much of the increase is attributed to higher production in the EU (2.7 MMT) and Russia (4.0 MMT). Additionally, IGC placed 2009 world wheat plantings 1.8 percent lower at 221 million hectares, and placed plantings for the five major exporters down 2.6 percent at 75.2 million hectares.
  • Freight indices moved lower this week with the Baltic Panamax Index closing at 667, down 26 percent from last week, and an astounding 93 percent from the May high of 11,018.

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