The weather continues to aid the bears’ cause this week, though the overnight newswires contained something for everyone (first two stories below)- particularly China’s Feb import numbers in the bulls’ case, reinforcing the reality that demand from that country is going nowhere but up.
Chinese grain and oilseed imports rose basically across the board in February, with Feb wheat imports (372k tonnes) and cumulative Jan-Feb imports (585k tonnes) both up more than 220% from last year, though most of it came from Australia. Corn imports of 521k tonnes in Feb and 1.27 MMT in Jan-Feb are way ahead of last year’s numbers, while soybean imports rose 65% from last year to 3.83 MMT in Feb, and they’re up 13% from LY for Jan-Feb at 8.4 MMT. Feb bean imports from the U.S. came in at 3.2 MMT, up 37% from Feb ‘11, while Jan-Feb imports from here fell 11% from LY to 6.28 MMT. The CNGOIC sees China importing 29 MMT of soy in the first half of 2012, up 25% from last year, potentially rising to a record high 7 MMT in June.
A senior Ukrainian Ag official this morning re-iterating the likelihood of increased corn acreage replacing damaged winter wheat area this spring, with winter wheat falling to 4.0-4.3 million hectares, compared to 6.6 mln ha a year ago; corn production is seen rising to as much as 25 MMT in 2012.
Dr. Michael Cordonnier lowered his Brazilian soy production estimate by half a million tonnes, to 66.5 MMT; that’s down 9 MMT from last year, and 2 MMT below the USDA March. Brazil corn was left unchanged at 58 MMT, up slightly from ‘10/11 but down 4 MMT from the current USDA. Cordonnier left his ‘11/12 ARG corn & bean estimates steady at 20.0 (2 MMT below the USDA ) and 47.0 MMT (0.5 MMT above the USDA), respectively.
Meanwhile, Oil World cut their Brazil soy estimate by 1.5 MMT yesterday, to match Cordonnier’s 66.5 MMT, while they slashed their ARG figure by 0.5 MMT to 46.5 MMT, matching the USDA. Paraguay soy output lost 600k tonnes to 4.0 MMT, down from 8.4 MMT in ‘11. Oil World also joined the call for record canola plantings in Canada, estimating acreage at 20-21 mln ac and output at 15.4 MMT, right in line with earlier numbers from Ag Canada.