Soybeans started the year on an up note as all three legs of the complex closed higher; Friday's COT report showed funds were light buyers of 15,500 contracts, good news for corn bulls; Hard Red Winter Wheat regions are still under a barrage of cold weather and wind chill warnings.
December was a fitting end for a year in which none of the major agricultural contracts – corn, wheat, or soybeans – ended more than 5% higher or lower than a year ago. The corn market was particularly quiet with only a 14-cent trading range for the month and a settlement price almost identical to a year ago.
After Friday saw a late session correction, some spill over correction was seen Monday as well. March is now the lead contract and today's correction came within three cents of contract lows before finding better support.
The dominant feature for the agricultural markets this month was northern hemisphere production. Particularly important were the U.S. corn and soybean crops and the Russian wheat crop. All three crops started the month with modest expectations and some areas of concern, but by month’s end all crop estimates had increased. In the case of Russian wheat, they had increased significantly.
Weekly export inspections for the week ending August 3 came in at 979,000 MT. It's similar to the previous week's movement, but it's more than one-third below what had been exported the same week a year ago in 2016. Corn exports are also slowing.