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Soybeans, corn mostly up ahead of CONAB Brazil numbers

Soybeans were mostly modestly higher, all buying back part of Tuesday’s losses, except for lightly traded January. Most forecasts have rain in some of the drier areas of Brazil into mid-month. Still, some damage was done earlier in the growing season and some acres were switched, with a new estimate from CONAB out Thursday. About half of the crop is in the pod setting or pod filling stage. If the lower projections for Brazil’s crop continue, that could open up some chances for the U.S. on the export market. The USDA’s weekly sales numbers are out Friday, pushed back by Monday’s holiday. Conditions in Argentina remain generally favorable. Soybean meal and oil were supported by light commercial support ahead of the CONAB numbers, along with a positive reaction to Tuesday’s crush data.

Corn was mostly modestly higher on spread trade and short covering. Corn is monitoring the conditions in South America, including rain in Brazil and good weather in most of Argentina. The big question for Brazil will be the performance of the second crop, while the spotlight in Argentina falls on the proposed policies of the new president. While recent U.S. precipitation has boosted Mississippi River levels, movement remains restricted through the Panama Canal. The USDA’s next round of supply and demand projections is out on the 12th. That includes the preliminary totals for 2023 U.S. corn and soybean production, along with the usual balance sheet adjustments and global production changes. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s weekly ethanol production and stocks numbers will be released a day late, Thursday. Ahead of the report, analysts generally expect producers to back off from the previous week’s more-than two year high due to the holidays.

The wheat complex was lower on fund and technical selling, along with the higher trade in the dollar during the session. The big issue continues to be export demand, which remains slow, even with the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. That is largely to the strength of the dollar relative to other currencies and generally higher freight costs. Crop conditions have improved in parts of the Plains over the past month thanks to better precipitation. Still, dry weather continues to be an issue in many U.S. winter wheat growing areas. There is more precipitation in the forecast over the next few days, which should help. Production in France will likely be impacted by excessively wet weather limiting planting.

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