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Soybeans, corn, wheat close with modest gains

Soybeans were modestly higher on short covering and technical buying after a wide-ranging session. Export sales were up on the week, but Brazil remains in control of the global market. The weekly total was 18.2 million bushels, China and Mexico topped the list, with a minor cancelation by unknown destinations. The 2023/24 pace continues to trail 2022/23 by a wide margin because of Brazil’s dominance. Weather for Argentina and southern Brazil generally looks drier, which should help harvest activity, but that could be followed by more rain in some areas next week. Brazil should be at or past the 70% mark by the end of this week. The USDA’s next round of supply, demand, and production estimates is out April 11th, along with CONAB’s updated outlook for Brazil. The USDA’s attaché for China projects 2024/25 soybean imports at 103 million tons, compared to 103 million for 2023/24. The USDA’s office in Indonesia sees 2024/25 palm oil production at 47 million tons, compared to 45.8 million in 2023/24, thanks to expected better weather. Soybean meal was higher and bean oil was lower on the adjustment of product spreads.

Corn was modestly higher on short covering and technical buying. Export sales were down on the week, still larger than average, and corn for ethanol use is solid. Corn export sales were 46.7 million bushels, Japan and Mexico topped the list, with a notable cancelation by unknown destinations. Rain is in the forecast for northern Brazil, helping the second crop, but more will be needed between now and the harvest this summer. Most of that rain could miss central Brazil. Stateside, more precipitation will be needed in much of the Corn Belt ahead of widespread planting. The USDA Prospective Plantings report is out March 28th, the same day as the Quarterly Grain Stocks numbers.

The wheat complex was modestly higher on short covering and technical buying. Export sales hit a marketing year low for the second consecutive week. The total was a net reduction following the recent cancelations by China, which canceled out routine sales to Japan, Mexico, and others. New crop sales were 10.5 million bushels, primarily to the Philippines and South Korea. The new marketing year starts June 1st. Those recent cancelations by China, not just the U.S. but also, reportedly, Australia and France, were likely due to Beijing switching to less expensive origins like Russia or Ukraine. Egypt did bypass the Black Sea this week, purchasing 110,000 tons from Bulgaria and Romania. There’s at least some near-term precipitation in the forecast for most U.S. winter wheat growing areas and while the crop is in better condition than a year ago, it will emerge in even drier soil in some areas. The trade is also monitoring conditions in the northern U.S. Plains and Canada ahead of spring wheat planting.

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