Market News

Soybeans, corn, wheat all see weekly losses

Soybeans were lower on speculative and technical selling, compounding what was already going to be a lower finish for the week. Soybeans had another round of pressure connected to forecasts for more rain in Brazil. Projections are down from the initial expectations, but general sentiment is that Brazil will still produce a lot of beans this year. The USDA’s Foreign Ag Service sees the 2023/24 crop at 158.5 million tons, down 2.5 million from the most recent official guess, but 500,000 more than the FAS peg on the 2022/23 crop. Export sales hit marketing year low, with the overall pace behind last year. Not a total surprise, as it was a holiday week, but still disappointing in the grand scheme of things and reflective of the aggressive shipping by Brazil in 2023. The big buyers last week for the U.S. were Spain and the Netherlands, with a routine amount to China and a significant cancelation by unknown destinations. Soybean meal and oil were down on follow through selling and the fundamental implications of big South American crops.

Corn was lower on speculative and technical selling, ensuring a lower week-to-week close. Corn is watching those rain forecasts for Brazil and the generally good conditions in Argentina. CONAB’s updated outlook for Brazil is set for Wednesday the 10th, while the USDA’s latest round of supply, demand, and production numbers is out Friday, the 12th. That includes the preliminary final 2023 U.S. corn and soybean production totals. Stateside, for 2024, the trade is monitoring precipitation in the Corn Belt ahead of spring planting, with soil moisture levels remaining lower than ideal in some key growing areas. Corn export sales were a marketing year low, but that pace is ahead of a year ago thanks to more aggressive U.S. shipping and very competitive prices. The leading purchasers were Mexico and Colombia.

The wheat complex was mostly with Chicago and Kansas City up and Minneapolis mixed, with the complex ending the week in the red. Contracts remain oversold, but the dollar was up Friday after some early losses, which limited gains and, overall, caps the competitiveness of U.S. wheat on the export market. U.S. sales last week were bearish, falling well below average, but with China picking up more than half of the weekly total, followed by Mexico. There are chances of winterkill in the Black Sea region, U.S. Plains, and Midwest, but any damage won’t be known until those crops emerge from dormancy. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange raised its estimate for Argentina’s wheat crop by 400,000 tons to 15.1 million, with the potential for further increases as harvest moves into the top production areas.

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