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Mixed finish for soybeans, corn, wheat

Soybeans were mixed, with nearby months up and deferred contracts down. Soybeans adjusted spreads, watching U.S. fieldwork conditions and planting weather, along with late harvest activity in Brazil. CONAB’s updated outlook for Brazil’s crop is out Thursday morning, along with weekly U.S. export sales. There were no changes to the balance sheet in this month’s USDA supply and demand update, as USDA left ending stocks at a tight 210 million bushels with about four and a half months remaining in the marketing year. Soybean meal was higher and bean oil was lower on the adjustment of product spreads. Argentina’s third round of the “soy dollar” program apparently hasn’t led to an uptick in sales. Inflation in Argentina is above 100% and the crop is much smaller because of drought. Argentina is normally the world’s biggest exporter of soybean products but is expected to import beans because of the production shortfall.

Corn was mixed, mostly modestly lower. Corn adjusted spreads after a quiet set of USDA supply and demand numbers, keeping an eye on U.S. planting activity. Much of the Corn Belt is expected to make good progress this week, but there are delays in parts of the region. Ending stocks were unchanged on the month when many analysts had been expecting a tighter balance sheet following the recent Quarterly Grain Stocks report. The trade is also watching development conditions in Argentina and Brazil. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says ethanol production last week averaged 959,000 barrels a day, down 44,000 on the week and 36,000 on the year, with stocks of 25.128 million barrels, 8,000 less than a week ago, but 325,000 more than a year ago.

The wheat complex was mixed, with Chicago steady to firm and Kansas City and Minneapolis modestly lower. Even if U.S. ending stocks were up on the month, the supply is still tighter than average for this time of year following a few years of steady to lower domestic production, in addition to some improvements in domestic demand. There is a chance for rain in dry parts of the Plains in the next few days, pressuring Kansas City. Minneapolis was down expecting better spring planting weather, but large swaths of the northern Plains are under a flood advisory and portions of the Canadian Prairies are dry. Ukraine is reportedly resuming grain exports after a stoppage Tuesday amid continued conflict with Russia and Moscow’s complaints about fertilizer exports and sanctions. It remains to be seen if the Black Sea Grain Initiative will be extended next month, largely because of Russia’s unhappiness with the deal.

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