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Wheat, corn rise as soybeans fall

Soybeans were sharply lower on fund and technical selling, taking contracts to a weekly loss. Soybeans pulled back and liquidated with a lower move in products, including a decline in bean oil linked to losses in palm oil. Brazil’s harvest is about 70% complete and Argentina’s crop is in much better shape than this time last year. Still, there are concerns about weather issues impacting later planted beans. The USDA’s updated supply, demand, and production numbers are out April 11th, the same day as CONAB’s new outlook for Brazil. This might be the month the USDA finally brings its estimate for Brazil’s crop closer to the projections from CONAB and many major private firms. The trade is also keeping an eye out for any new demand from China.

Corn was modestly lower on fund and technical selling, while still closing with a modest weekly gain. Rain is in the forecast for parts of Brazil, potentially boosting second crop conditions, and Argentina’s harvest is underway. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange did lower its production guess for Argentina to 54 million tons because of excessive soil moisture and pest issues. That’s a million less than the USDA’s last estimate, but still considerably larger than last year’s crop. Near-term U.S. forecasts have precipitation in much of the Corn Belt. That’s still likely not enough to alleviate soil moisture concerns in wide swaths of the region following a generally warm, dry February. The USDA’s Prospective Plantings numbers are out on the 28th, along with Quarterly Grain Stocks. Ahead of Friday’s open, Mexico bought 263,000 tons of U.S. corn, with 173,000 tons for 2023/24 and 90,000 tons for 2024/25.

The wheat complex was higher on short covering and technical buying, adding to what already would have been a higher finish for the week. Most near-term forecasts have precipitation in soft red winter areas against more dry weather for hard red winter. U.S. winter wheat is in better shape than a year ago, but the increasingly dry conditions in some areas are a concern. Export demand remains slow, but there’s buying interest near these price levels, and European prices were up ahead of the U.S. session, helping wheat shrug off a higher move in the dollar. Ukraine and Russia continue to hold most of the global market share.

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