Buyers retreat, betting on new decreases

In the first fortnight of February, Brazilian corn prices remained decreasing. Between January 30th and Feb 16th, the ESALQ/BM&FBovespa Index (Campinas region - Sao Paulo state) dropped 5.7 percent in Real, closing at 22.12 reals or 9.70 dollars per bag of 60 kilos on Feb 16th. The pressure came from the weak demand, once buyers bet on new decreases, and also from the harvesting progress in main producer regions, which enlarged the supply of new and stocked grain. Regarding exports, trades kept moving at a slow pace.

In general terms, agents are focused on the weather and its impacts on the harvesting (summer crop) and also on the winter corn crop planting. According to Seab (Paraná Agriculture Secretariat), the harvest activities reached 8 percent in Paraná state (the main national producer) until Feb 9th.

In the latest USDA report, released on Feb 10th, ending corn stocks for 2008/09 were kept at 136.7 million tons, different from what agents expected - they bet a reduction on this data. Although, Brazilian and Argentine production decreases 15.5 and 35.3 percent respectively, the global production and consumption should maintain stable.

According to Secex (Foreign Trade Secretariat), in January, Brazilian corn exports totaled 1.33 million tons, a record for the period. (Cepea - Brazil)

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