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Markets Closely Eye S&D Tables

posted on December 10, 2004


Record-high ocean freight rates continue to influence the markets. Rates on the benchmark route from the Gulf of Mexico to Japan remain at $75 a ton. That's $10 to $15 higher than a month ago. Analysts cite strong Chinese demand for iron ore, coal and grains for the increase in rates.

The high shipping costs have preserved some of the premium for commodities like corn, though the market continues to founder. And on Friday, USDA's latest production, and supply and demand estimates, did little to impress traders.

Markets Closely Eye S&D Tables For weeks now, the markets have been trading on demand rather than supply. So the interest in Friday's USDA reports was focused more on ending stocks than on final production estimates.

World ending stocks for all major commodities increased over year-ago totals. The same holds true for U.S. carryout, with the exception of wheat. Analysts say wheat exports have slowed in recent weeks, and though export volume remains even with last year, export sales are down 9 percent from 2003.

Even so, any bounce in the market due to the reduced carryout may be muted by an increase in Canadian production.

U.S. ending stocks for corn were more than 25 million bushels above the November forecast ... while soybean carryout remained unchanged from last month. Traders felt the corn number was on the rise because high freight costs have cut into U.S. exports. Chinese output also has been healthy this year.


Tags: agriculture crops markets news