The investment objective of the Fund is to have the daily changes in percentage terms of the Shares’ net asset value (“NAV”) reflect the daily changes in percentage terms of a weighted average of the closing settlement prices for three futures contracts for corn (“Corn Futures Contracts”) that are traded on the Chicago Board of Trade (“CBOT”), specifically (1) the second-to-expire CBOT Corn Futures Contract, weighted 35%, (2) the third-to-expire CBOT Corn Futures Contract, weighted 30%, and (3) the CBOT Corn Futures Contract expiring in the December following the expiration month of the third-to-expire contract, weighted 35%, less the Fund’s expenses. (This weighted average of the three referenced Corn Futures Contracts is referred to herein as the “Benchmark,” and the three Corn Futures Contracts that at any given time make up the Benchmark are referred to herein as the “Benchmark Component Futures Contracts.
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U.S. corn futures (CORN -2%) tumble 7% to a nine-month low in their biggest one-day decline in about four years, following a 5.4% drop on Thursday when the USDA reported higher-than-expected U.S. corn stockpiles. The two-day drop erases all the gains in corn futures since last June, when prices soared amid the worst U.S. drought in years.
Agricultural commodities continue an underreported slide, with J.C. Parets noting corn is down for the 10th consecutive session. Earlier this week, the USDA estimated farm income in 2013 will be the highest in 40 years thanks to high prices. A weak harvest has little impact thanks to the use of crop-insurance programs. DBA -5.2%, CORN -4.4% YTD.
Beans (SOYB -2.6%) tumble as stronger Brazilian production has the USDA upping its forecast for ending stockpiles by a greater-than-expected 1.1% to 60.1M tons. Estimated corn (CORN -0.5%) inventories are raised 5% to a 632M bushels, but it's not enough to send prices lower as the level remains the lowest in the U.S. since 1995.
Corn inventories at the end of August, prior to the harvest, are forecast to be 873M bushels, 45% higher than the USDA's prediction, broker Allendale says at its annual conference. "The demand is gone," due to the surge in prices caused by last year's drought. "The higher prices are leading to herd liquidation." Allendale forecasts that 2013 corn production will increase 30% to 14.03B bushels.
The inaugural midday release of the USDA's January crop report doesn't disappoint, with corn reversing early losses and now sharply green as Dec. 1 stocks come in at 8.03B bushels vs. expectations of 8.21B. Ending stocks are estimated at a slim 602M bushels vs. expectations of 667M. Beans are down after production came in higher than expected. Wheat jumps on lower-than-anticipated planted acres.
The grains continue a tough post-U.S. harvest run with news today of China cancelling another order - this one 11.6M bushels of American beans. In the meantime, better weather is improving prospects for South America's crops. Beans -1.1%, Corn -0.7%, Wheat -0.2%.
Brazil’s government go-ahead for Petrobras (PBR -3.6%) to raise its gasoline prices in early 2013 likely will raise demand for domestically produced sugar-based ethanol, but effects also could reach U.S. shores. Ethanol output in the U.S. is expected fall ~10% next year, and a robust export market could give Brazilian mills even more incentive to produce ethanol instead of sugar.
The grains get a downgrade from Goldman following Friday's USDA report raising harvest estimates. Acknowledging continued tight supplies of corn and wheat, Goldman says "risks of critically tight soybean inventories continue to fade quickly." The grains are off sharply today: CORN -3.1%, SOYB -2.8%, WEAT -1.6%.
Corn could move up to the unheard level of $9-$10/bushel in 2013, says Morgan Stanley's Hussein Allidina. A few weak export numbers from the U.S. has left the market complacent, he says, but supplies remain super-thin and current prices aren't high enough to ensure there will be corn around until the next crop. CORN -7.9% over the last 90 days.
Wheat is catching a bid, the December contract +1.7% to $8.83/bushel on chatter the Ukraine is set to ban exports beginning Nov. 15. "Window dressing," says Tregg Cronin. "The market (is) already keeping them out of exports." Corn +1%, Beans +0.6%.
Grains soar as the USDA lowers its estimate of corn ending stocks to 619M bushels from 733M in September. The cut comes even as it raises its forecast of harvested acres to 360K. What happens, asks Arlan Suderman, if the USDA is forced to cut harvested acres in its next report? Yikes. Corn +4%, Beans +2.1%, Wheat +1.5%.
Corn soars 3% as the USDA announces stocks at just 988M bushels, the low end of the expected range. Prior to the report, corn had tumbled about $1/bushel over the past month. Wheat stocks also came in low, suggesting greater-than-expected feed use for both grains. Bean stocks beat expectations after the USDA "finds" another 38M bushels from last year's crop. Wheat +2%, Beans flat.
Corn tumbles 2% as the USDA lowers its expected crop yield and harvest only marginally from last month's estimates. Also lowered were expected exports - to 1.25B bushels from the already low figure of 1.3B. As a result, new crop ending stocks are now estimated at 733M bushels, up from 650M.
China's feed demand needs to be met by imports no matter what the price," says FCStone's Nathan Broders. With the drought no longer driving corn prices, it's now about demand, and China's appetite is going nowhere. Rabobank's Daron Hoffman believes the USDA's estimate of China's corn crop is too optimistic, and therefore its view on Chinese imports too light.
Long corn? If you bought the December crop 7 weeks ago you're even, notes an analyst. This despite falling crop ratings, the USDA cutting its harvest numbers, and numerous private tours confirming the poor state of the crop. Always take caution with a bull market that's stopped reacting to bullish news.