After the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend in the US, the Dow began this week in the red amid concerns regarding weaker-than-expected retail sales. And while in-store sales may be soft, online sales were off the charts this Cyber Monday. Sales for the online retail holiday were up 15% yesterday to US$1.2 billion and could top US$82 billion this holiday season according to Bloomberg. Unexpected positive data regarding US manufacturing and construction activity also came out Monday, as well as indications of a slower growth in Chinese manufacturing activity.
Turning to agribusiness, a large delegation of Brazilian mill operators are making the rounds here in Uruguay doing an inspection trip of the wheat fields. General consensus is that the Brazilians will begin placing significant orders in the coming weeks. Weather conditions have improved nationwide over the last few days, and that is raising hopes regarding the quality of the current wheat harvest. Grain prices have stabilized in both Chicago and Kansas, while soybean prices here at the Port of Nueva Palmira have moved above US$450 per ton.
Soybean futures capped last week’s gains with more green arrows in the Monday session especially for the short-term contracts like January 2014 (Chart) and March 2014 (Chart). Corn futures posted the biggest gains in Tuesday trading. US exporters reported the cancellation of 300,000 metric tons of soybean sales to China, but US soybean export sales and prospects are still extremely positive. Across the river, AgriMoney says Argentina will have a record soybean harvest after all, thanks to late rains and relatively high prices compared to corn.
Here at home, Uruguay is expecting another record soybean harvest in 2014. Uruguay soybean farmers are planting an additional 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres) this spring which will bring the total area of Uruguay farmland planted with soybeans to 3.33 million acres (1.35 million hectares), an 8% increase over the 2013 harvest. And finally, Uruguay followed up last week’s positive production news with another regional superlative regarding transparency.
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