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Soybeans, corn, wheat start week strong

Soybeans were sharply higher on speculative and technical buying. There’s more heavy rain to start the week in southern Brazil, further delaying harvest and damaging crops. A portion of the crop in the key state of Rio Grande do Sul has already been lost, this round is expected to exacerbate those losses. Stateside, this week should be another week of largely mixed planting progress. The USDA says 52% of soybeans are planted, compared to 61% a year ago and the five-year average of 49%, with 26% emerged, compared to 21% on average. If the corn planting delays persist much longer, it could lead some U.S. producers to switch to soybeans. In Argentina, the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange left their production outlook unchanged at 50.5 million tons, with just 64% of the crop harvested and drier weather on tap this week. Soybean meal and oil were up on the fundamental implications of smaller South American and U.S. crops. China’s Ag Minister is reportedly under investigation by Beijing for corruption. U.S. soybean export inspections were a marketing year low, but still larger than a year ago. The main destinations were Japan and Mexico. The new marketing year for soybeans, and corn, begins September 1st.

Corn was higher on speculative and technical buying. Corn is monitoring U.S. planting delays, with parts of the region expected to see heavy rain and severe weather. As of Sunday, 70% of the crop has been planted, compared to 76% last year and 71% on average, while 40% has emerged, compared to the normal rate of 39%. There’s still some time, but key parts of the Corn Belt could be forced to plant past the ideal window and there is a growing discussion about prevent plant. Forecasts for this week show the potential for much-needed rain in second crop corn areas of Brazil. It’s not expected to be enough to drastically improve conditions but could at least stop some of the deterioration. The trade is also keeping an eye on Argentina, with the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange leaving their corn crop guess at 46.5 million tons, below the USDA’s most recent projection. The USDA’s next set of supply, demand, and production estimates is out June 12th, with CONAB’s new outlook for Brazil due the following day. China’s General Administration of Customs says April corn imports were 1.18 million tons, up 17.6% on the year, with 2024 to date imports at 9.08 million tons, 15.7% ahead of 2023. U.S. corn export inspections were a two-week high, with Mexico and China leading the pack.

The wheat complex was sharply higher on speculative and technical buying. Weekend storms in parts of the central and southern U.S. Plains might have damaged some winter wheat. Spring wheat planting in the northern Plains and Canada has been recently delayed by heavy rain in some areas, along with periodic frosts. For winter wheat, 49% of the crop is in good to excellent shape, down 1% on the week, while 69% has headed, compared to the usual pace of 57%. For spring wheat, 79% is planted and 43% has emerged, both ahead of their respective five-year averages. Frost and dry weather continue to hit wheat in the Black Sea region. Several Russian private firms have lowered production and export projections citing the likely crop loss, driving prices higher, while Ukraine’s ag industry in general is seeing another year of impact on production and exports from the ongoing war. Excessively wet conditions remain an issue in parts of Europe, while most key wheat growing areas of Australia largely remain dry. U.S. export inspections were a near-six month low, primarily to the Philippines and China. The 2024/25 marketing year for wheat starts June 1st. China’s General Administration of Customs says April wheat imports were 1.95 million tons, record large for the month and an increase of 15.7% from the year before, with year-to-date imports at 3.4 million tons, up 3.4%.

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