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Soybeans gain ground to start week

Soybeans were higher on commercial and technical buying. May closed well above the 50-day moving average, with help from bean oil, which was up on the strength in palm and crude oils. Soybean meal had an up and down day, closing higher under the influence of beans and oil. Brazil’s harvest is about 70% complete, with activity underway in parts of Argentina. The USDA’s updated production estimates are out April 11th, the same day as CONAB’s new outlook for Brazil. The USDA’s attaché in Brazil sees a slowdown in the expansion of planted area for 2024/25, projecting a crop of 157.5 million tons, compared to the 2023/24 guess of 152.6 million tons, with exports next marketing year seen at 99 million tons, compared to 95 million this marketing year. Stateside, the focus remains on weather ahead of widespread U.S. planting. Soybean export inspections were up on the week, down on the year, mainly to China and Mexico.

Corn was steady to modestly lower. Showers, thunderstorms, and snow early this week are bringing moisture to the Corn Belt ahead of widespread planting. Still, more will be needed during planting and development in most of the region. USDA’s Prospective Plantings numbers are out Thursday, along with quarterly stocks. Both reports are out at Noon Eastern/11 Central. Corn export inspections were below a week ago, above a year ago, while the overall pace remains ahead of what’s needed to meet projections for the current marketing year. The top destinations were Mexico and Colombia. Development conditions in South America look mixed – weekend showers were beneficial for second crop corn in central Brazil, while southern growing areas could see some much-needed rain later this week, and Argentina’s expected to mostly see a drier pattern over the next few days. The USDA’s attaché for South Africa sees 2023/24 corn production at 14.5 million tons, below the most recent official guess and down from 2022/23 due to weather issues, while also remaining a net exporter during the current marketing year. Production and exports for South Africa in 2024/25 are expected to be above 2023/24.

The wheat complex was mixed. The trade is watching the Black Sea region for any disruptions from escalations in the Russia/Ukraine war. Contracts were up early on social media rumors before mostly drifting downward due to a lack of confirmation. Additionally, any support tied to expected disruptions has been short-lived, with Russia and Ukraine both still moving grain, helped by a price advantage. U.S. export inspections were below the prior week and last year, primarily to Mexico and the Dominican Republic. With less than a quarter remaining in 2023/24, the pace remains behind 2022/23. A midweek cold snap could damage winter wheat in parts of the central and southern Plains, depending on snow cover, while snow in the northern U.S. Plains and Canada should bolster soil moisture ahead of spring wheat planting.

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