Market News

Solidly higher finish for wheat, corn firm

Soybeans were modestly lower on profit taking and technical selling. Soybeans were getting ready for Tuesday’s production update for Brazil from CONAB. The number is expected to be lower, but likely won’t be as dramatic as the cut CONAB made in February. Still, some private estimates are below 145 million tons Brazil’s harvest just over the halfway point. The USDA did lower their crop guess for Brazil last week, while leaving Argentina unchanged, with the next round of projections out April 11th. Export inspections were down on the week, up on the year, mainly to China and Mexico. Soybean meal was lower and bean oil was higher on the adjustment of product spreads. Statistics Canada says farmers intend to plant 21.394 million acres of canola this year, 3.1% less than in 2023, but close to the five-year average. Soybean planting in Canada is seen at 5.582 million acres, 0.9% less than last year.

Corn was modestly higher on commercial and technical buying, rallying a little after the lower started to the day. The USDA’s supply and demand numbers were neutral with no changes to U.S. ending stocks, while global adjustments were minor. Ethanol and export demand are good, but Ukraine is becoming a bigger competitor on the global market. Corn export inspections were below a week ago, but above a year ago, primarily to Mexico and Japan. Just starting the back half of the 2023/24 marketing year, corn inspections are ahead of the 2022/23 pace. Weather in South America generally looks favorable for development in Argentina, along with the late first crop harvest and ongoing second crop planting and development for Brazil. The Rosario Grain Exchange says Argentina’s corn shipments so far in 2024 are the fastest in five-years, helped by a big carryover from last year and expected record production this year. Statistics Canada projects 2024 corn for grain acreage at 3.885 million acres, up 1.6% from a year ago. The USDA’s U.S. Prospective Planting and Quarterly Grain Stocks reports are out March 28th.

The wheat complex was higher on commercial and technical buying. The most active months have now closed higher for two consecutive sessions, finding new buying interest near the recent lows, with help from a rally in Paris milling wheat. That helped wheat shrug off the third business day in a row with a cancelation on soft red winter by China, now at a running total of 504,000 tons. The overall fundamental outlook remains bearish due to slow exports and a large supply. Still, the U.S. soft red winter supply is expected to be the smallest in a decade, with just under a quarter remaining in 2023/24. The trade is also monitoring U.S. winter wheat development weather and conditions ahead of spring wheat planting in the northern U.S. Plains and Canada. Canada’s wheat planting intentions are mixed, down on the year for spring wheat, but up for durum. Statistics Canada has all wheat acreage at 27.045 million acres, 0.1% higher than in 2023, with spring wheat at 19.235 million, down 1.2%, and durum at 6.344 million acres, up 5.1%. U.S. export inspections were above last week and last year, with the Philippines and Mexico topping the list, but the pace continues to trail last marketing year.

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