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Soybeans, corn, wheat end week lower

Soybeans were lower on profit taking and technical selling, pulling the most active months lower for the week. Mexico and China both bought U.S. beans Friday, with China’s week to date total at 606,000 tons. Mexico purchased 125,000 tons, 39,000 for 2019/20 and 86,000 tons for 2020/21, while China’s Friday buy was 136,000 tons, all 2019/20. That said – China continues to largely rely on Brazil, with near-term U.S. prices at a premium to South America. That price spread does not favor the U.S. until early summer. The trade continues to monitor shipping issues on the Parana River in Argentina because of low water levels, but rain is in the forecast. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange says Argentina’s harvest is about 57% complete with a running total of 31 million tons. Soybean meal and oil were lower, following beans.

Corn was lower on profit taking and technical selling, cementing a lower weekly finish. Parts of the western and northern Corn Belt were expected to make good planting progress into the coming week, while southern and eastern areas will likely see at least some delays. There was more talk of China buying U.S. corn ahead of the open, but nothing surfaced. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange says nearly 35% of Argentina’s corn crop is harvested with 12% of the crop rated poor to very poor, compared to 5% a year ago. The trade is keeping an eye on dry weather in Brazil. Mexico bought 589,395 tons of U.S. corn Friday morning, with 369,600 tons for 2019/20 delivery and 219,795 for 2020/21. The current marketing year for corn runs through the end of August. Ethanol futures were firm, following the lead of crude oil. ADM announced it was temporarily idling production at plants in Iowa and Nebraska because of slower blending demand caused by lower fuel use because of social distancing and stay at home restrictions related to COVID-19. APK-Inform says Ukraine could restrict corn export sales.

The wheat complex was lower on fund and technical selling, with the three U.S. pits posting week to week losses. Most forecasts Friday had good near-term rainfall in parts of the U.S. Plains and Europe, including France and Germany. France’s AgriMer says 58% of that nation’s wheat crop is in good to excellent condition, down 3% on the week and well below the 80% reported a year ago. Still, the Black Sea region is expected to remain mostly dry and some U.S. soft red winter areas are already too wet with more rain in most near-term forecasts. Russia and Ukraine are both expected to restrict wheat exports in the next couple of months.

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