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Soybeans down, corn up ahead of WASDE, CONAB

Soybeans were lower on commercial and technical selling. Beans also followed soybean meal, while watching harvest activity in South America. Brazil’s harvest is inching towards completion, while activity in Argentina is starting to build steam on a widespread basis. Thursday, the USDA’s expected to raise U.S. ending stocks, with slow exports offsetting a strong domestic crush, while CONAB’s crop guess for Brazil could be up. Brazil’s ANEC projects April 2024 soybean exports at 12.73 million tons, compared to their earlier guess of 10.65 million. Unknown destinations bought 254,000 tons of 2024/25 U.S. soybeans Wednesday morning, following up Tuesday’s purchase of 124,000 tons of 2023/24. The USDA’s weekly sales numbers are also out Thursday. Soybean oil was down for the bulk of the session, eventually finishing firm on a higher move in crude oil.

Corn was modestly higher on short covering and technical buying. Corn is monitoring U.S. planting conditions, with more rain needed in parts of the Corn Belt. Outside of the Corn Belt, there are concerns about early development in the southern and western Plains from a warmer, dry pattern, but that will speed up planting, while planting delays are likely in the Delta and southeast due to heavy rainfall. The trade is also watching development conditions in Argentina and Brazil. U.S. ending stocks should be down on the month due to ethanol and export demand, and CONAB’s corn estimate is expected to be higher. Brazil’s ANEC expects April corn exports to be 26,728 tons, compared to expectations of 25,000 tons earlier this month. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says ethanol production last week averaged 1.056 million barrels a day, down 17,000 on the week, but up 97,000 on the year, while stocks fell for the first time since early March, declining 208,000 barrels to 26.208 million, which was still 1.08 million more than a year ago.

The wheat complex was higher on fund and technical buying. Russia’s cash market has moved higher, but Russia and Ukraine both still have an export price advantage. Those Black Sea nations continue to move out plenty of wheat, despite the ongoing war and damage to port infrastructure. Russian exporters are also contending with quality concerns. A warm, dry spell in the parts of the U.S. Plains could be an issue for HRW, while some SRW areas are excessively set. The trade is also keeping an eye on spring planting conditions in the northern U.S. Plains and Canada. U.S. ending stocks are expected to be up in the monthly supply and demand numbers, while global stocks could be slightly tighter. Taking China out of the equation, the world supply is at multi-year lows. Ag commodities largely ignored the outside market activity following bearish CPI data, including a sharply higher move in the dollar. Brazil’s ANEC sees April wheat exports at 140,952 tons, compared to the prior week’s guess of 80,582 tons.

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