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Soybeans manage firm finish with corn mostly weak

Soybeans were modestly higher on short covering and technical buying. That late rally was sparked by forecasts showing hot, dry weather into at least next week for parts of Argentina and a higher move in bean meal. Beans were down early on profit taking, concerns about China’s economy, and mostly favorable weather in Brazil after a poor start to the season in many areas. Private guesses for Brazil have generally declined as harvest has advanced. The USDA’s updated supply, demand, and production numbers and CONAB’s new outlook for Brazil are both set for Thursday, February 8th. ANEC estimates Brazil’s January soybean exports at 2.49 million tons, compared to 940,000 a year ago. Bean meal was supported by follow through buying linked to demand expectations, while bean oil was mostly weak ahead of Thursday’s USDA crush numbers for December. The crush is expected to be record large for any month and bean oil stocks are expected to be above a month ago and below a year ago.

Corn was narrowly mixed, mostly fractionally lower, on spread trade and profit taking. Corn was watching development weather in Argentina, with next week’s rain expected to miss some areas, in addition to second crop planting in Brazil. Rain is forecast to move out of northern Brazil into southern growing areas over the next couple of days. ANEC projects Brazil’s January 2024 corn exports at 3.49 million tons, compared to 4.86 million in January 2023. Ethanol production bounced back from last week’s drop and stocks were lower after eight consecutive weeks with an increase. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says ethanol production averaged 991,000 barrels a day, up 173,000 from the previous week’s weather-related drop, but down 37,000 on the year, while stocks contracted for the first time since late November, pegged at 24.27 million barrels, a drop of 1.545 million on the week and 172,000 on the year.

The wheat complex was lower on profit taking and technical selling. The big bearish factor continues to be Russia’s control of the export market, which should be reflected in Thursday’s USDA weekly export sales report. Stateside, winter wheat ratings were mostly up on the month following widespread precipitation and those ratings significantly better than a year ago for the hard red winter region. The USDA is issuing two more monthly state crop weather stories in late February and late March, with the weekly reports resuming in April. Still, that increase in precipitation has left some fields saturated, especially in the soft red winter region, and the recent warmer trend has melted snow, which could be an issue if bitterly cold conditions reappear without new snow cover. ANEC sees Brazil’s January wheat exports at 685,171 tons, compared to 651,163 a year ago. Brazil is normally a net importer of wheat but will ship lower quality or excess supplies. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange says Argentina’s harvest is over with a crop of 15.1 million tons, less than originally expected, but up solidly on the year. The European Commission says E.U. wheat exports since the start of the marketing year July 1st, 2023 are 18.2 million tons, compared to 19.2 million this time last year.

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