Concern over Iraq's faltering appetite for U.S. wheat faded away this week. USDA reports the Iraqis have purchased 800,000 metric tons of wheat. That's in addition to recent sales of wheat to Japan, Taiwan, Cuba and Egypt.
The markets have appreciated the bullish export news for wheat, as well as for corn and soybeans. That's because other fundamental factors have not been quite as friendly, as evidenced by two anticipated reports this week from USDA.
The two reports -- one on production and the other on global supply and demand -- offered few surprises for the trade.
USDA's corn estimate came in at 11.032 billion bushels, slightly below trade guesses but not enough to trigger much in the way of sales. Analysts now are trying to determine if the corn market has hit its post-harvest bottom and is poised to rally. One positive sign has been the recent sharp increase in export sales, which still lag 12 percent from year ago levels.
World ending stocks for corn were increased to 114.2 million metric tons, about what traders were expecting.
USDA's soybean projection was set at 3.043 billion bushels, also slightly below trade estimates. Recent price gains in soybeans are due mostly to improved basis values that encouraged some farmer selling. In fact, the fundamental factors in the market now have shifted squarely to the South American crop.
World soybean stocks were cut by 66 million metric tons, thanks to lower-than-expected production in Brazil.