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Down day for soybeans, corn ahead of USDA reports

Soybeans were modestly lower on fund and technical selling. Soybeans saw another round of spillover from bean oil and palm oil, this time sparked by lower moves in China ahead of the U.S. open. Soybean meal was mixed at times, eventually closing lower under the influence of beans and bean oil. Brazil’s harvest is ongoing, still holding their price advantage over the U.S. despite a higher basis. AgroConsult says Brazil’s average yields are below a year ago, not a real surprise given the issues faced during planting and development. The USDA’s next set of supply, demand, and production numbers is out April 11th, along with CONAB’s updated outlook for Brazil. ANEC sees Brazil’s March soybean exports at 13.49 million tons, a little less than the 14.01 million projected last week. Long-term logistical questions for shipping connected to the collapse of Baltimore’s France Scott Key Bridge are also a bearish factor.

Corn was modestly lower on fund and technical selling. The trade continued to react to the discovery of HPAI in some older dairy cattle and the potential impact on feed demand. There remain more unknowns than knowns about the recent findings, but crucially, HPAI does not transfer to the milk from those cows or their meat, it has not been found in younger animals or on a broad number of sites, and an infection does not require depopulation for cattle. The USDA’s Prospective Plantings and Quarterly Grain Stocks numbers are out Thursday. Corn is keeping an eye on South America as well, with rain in the forecast for central Brazil and a less wet pattern on tap for Argentina, which would help the crop dry out a little. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says ethanol production last week averaged 1.054 million barrels a day, up 8,000 on the week and 51,000 on the year, while stocks hit a 53-week high at 26.092 million barrels, a rise of 83,000 from the prior week and 565,000 from a year ago. ANEC expects Brazil’s corn exports for March to be 140,556 tons, compared to 134,430 a week ago.

The wheat complex was mixed. Wheat is monitoring Russian attacks on Ukraine’s port infrastructure, potentially impacting Black Sea movement. Still, that’s been a question mark for more than two years. Russia’s prices have moved a little higher, but remain the cheapest on the global market, and Ukraine continues to export grain despite Moscow’s best efforts to disrupt trade. The USDA’s weekly export sales numbers are out Thursday morning. The low end of old crop U.S. sales is expected to be a net reduction due to anticipated cancelations by China. The European Commission says E.U. soft wheat exports since the start of the marketing year on July 1st, 2023 are 22.8 million tons, compared to 23.2 million this time last year. There’s a warmup on tap for most winter wheat growing areas, along with rain in the forecast for parts of the southern Plains. The trade is also monitoring conditions in the northern U.S. Plains and Canada ahead of spring wheat planting. Drier weather in Australia is an issue ahead of winter wheat planting.

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