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Corn firm, wheat mostly up to start week

Soybeans were modestly lower on profit taking and technical selling. It’s been an up and down day for beans, monitoring soybean products, eventually bowing to the profit taking in bean oil, along with the South American harvest and U.S. planting weather. Soybean oil also had spillover from crude and palm oils, while bean meal was up on technical buying and product spread trade. New USDA supply and demand numbers are out Thursday, along with CONAB’s updated outlook for Brazil. According to several sources, Brazil’s harvest is about 80% complete. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange says 1.9% of Argentina’s soybean crop is harvested, with production seen at 52.5 million tons, unchanged from the prior estimate. Export inspections were down on the week and the year, primarily to China and Mexico. The USDA’s first national soybean planting pace estimate of the season is expected to be in next week’s crop progress and condition report.

Corn was modestly higher on short covering and technical buying. U.S. planting conditions generally look favorable, but parts of the Corn Belt will see rain delays at times this week. However, that anticipated improvement in soil moisture is welcome for most of the region. The USDA says 3% of the 2024 U.S. corn crop is planted, compared to 2% a week ago, 3% a year ago, and the five-year average of 2%. USDA Thursday could raise ethanol and export demand and CONAB could lower corn production for Brazil. There’s some rain in the forecast for parts of Brazil and Argentina, but timing and totals are uncertain. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange pegs Argentina’s crop at 52 million tons, 2 million less than the last guess, with harvest 11.1% complete. U.S. export inspections topped 1.4 million tons, below last week, above last year, and mainly to Mexico and Japan.

The wheat complex was mostly higher, with Chicago mixed on bear spreading and Kansas City and Minneapolis up on short covering and technical buying. The ongoing war in the Black Sea region and Russia’s wheat quality issues could help U.S. exports. Still, Russia has one of the lowest prices on the market and has yet to see a significant disruption in trade, either from the war on sanctions, and while Ukraine’s exports have slowed at times, it is still exporting grain. Parts of the U.S. Plains are expected to see warmer, mostly drier, weather this week. For winter wheat, 56% of the crop is in good to excellent shape, unchanged from last week, but with 1% moving from good to excellent, and 29% above last year, with 6% of the crop headed, compared to 5% on average. For spring wheat, 3% is planted, matching the normal rate for this time of year. Globally, excessively wet conditions are an issue in parts of Europe, while dry weather is a concern in the Black Sea region and Australia. U.S. export inspections were lower than a week ago, higher than a year ago, and the 2023/24 pace remains behind 2022/23 with less than two months left in the marketing year. The leading destinations were the Philippines and Mexico.

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