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Export sales remain fairly strong
Apr '10
NY futures closed mixed this week, with July dropping 152 points to close at 83.30 cents, while December advanced 38 points to close at 77.57 cents.

The July contract was unable to keep its upside momentum going this week and has since slipped back below its breakout point. The weak technical performance since Monday has created a short-term top, as the market tried to push higher early on in sessions only to get rejected time after time as the day went on. The low daily volume of just 12'000 to 13'000 lots added further proof that upside momentum has been stalling.

Jittery outside markets seemed to be the momentum killer, as some speculators decided to move to the sidelines due to fears of an escalating sovereign debt crisis in Europe. Although the initial reaction by traders in uncertain times is to reduce exposure and to head for what is perceived to be a safe haven, such as US government bonds, we believe that the debt and credit problems that persist in so many economies around the globe will ultimately be quite bullish for commodity prices.

While Greece and a number of other European countries have some serious debt issues, we feel that they will not be allowed to default since that would be the beginning of the end of the European Union. German and French banks each have over 300 billion dollars in loan exposure to Greece, Spain and Portugal, while UK banks are on the hook for over 150 billion dollars. Therefore, the EU and its Central Bankers will most likely follow the same path the US has chosen, which is to use the printing press in order to escape this growing debt spiral. The inescapable consequence of all this money printing is going to be inflation, which in due time will force investors to chase after tangible assets, such as commodities.

It's rather interesting to see US analysts and commentators harping on Europe's debt crisis while conveniently pushing the gigantic US debt issue in the background. According to the Federal Reserve data, total US credit market debt has grown by 11.15 trillion dollars over the last four years to 52.42 trillion dollars at the end of 2009 and it now amounts to over 350% of GDP. This number doesn't even include unfunded Social Security and Medicare liabilities, which are estimated in the tens of trillions. US public debt alone is growing at around 1.7 trillion dollars a year at the moment (12.9 trillion dollars total) and the current administration anticipates similar deficits for several years to come. That's an increase of nearly 5 billion dollars per day - with no end in sight - but the world seems to be mesmerized with Greek's 60 billion dollar annual budget deficit.

US export sales remained fairly strong last week at 175'200 running bales for current crop and 39'600 running bales for August onward shipment. Over the last four weeks alone the US has sold another 997'500 running bales of current crop and 151'300 bales for next marketing year (many of which will be shipped from existing stocks). For the current season we now have commitments of 11.3 million statistical bales, of which 8.0 million bales have so far been exported. Additionally there are commitments of 0.75 million bales for August onward shipment.

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