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Wheat up, corn manages firm finish

Soybeans were mixed, mostly steady to lower. Soybeans consolidated, generally unable to follow through on the early gains as conditions in Argentina look good, while parts of Brazil could be warmer and drier over the next few days. AgRural says 40% of Brazil’s soybean harvest is complete, compared to 33% a year ago. Unknown destinations bought 123,000 tons of old crop U.S. beans ahead of the open, but any support tied to that sale ran its course fairly quickly. That could turn out to be China when its time for delivery. However, while not confirmed, there’s been a lot of chatter China has purchased a significant amount of soybeans from Brazil since the respective ends of Carnival and Lunar New Year celebrations. The sell-off in soybean meal had some influence on beans as well, while bean oil was up on higher crude oil and general renewable fuels demand expectations.

Corn was modestly higher on short covering and technical buying. Corn continued to bounce from its lows, watching weather in South America. Still, even in a narrow daily range, contracts were closer to session’s lows than the highs as this slight rally is more technical than fundamental, with no real fresh supportive news out Tuesday. Stateside, the warmer than normal February in most of the Corn Belt has allowed some farmers to get a jump on pre-planting field work. Brazil’s first corn crop is 42% harvested in central and southern growing areas, while 73% of the second crop is planted, both ahead of last year. Ethanol demand is solid and export demand is good, but Ukraine is becoming more competitive on the global market. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s weekly ethanol production and stocks numbers are out Wednesday.

The wheat complex was higher on short covering and technical buying, holding onto the day’s gains relatively well. Wheat extended its rally on the mostly lower dollar during the session, oversold signals, and recent warm, dry weather in parts of the Plains. U.S. winter wheat condition ratings in the Plains and Midwest were mixed on the month. Conditions in the central and southern Plains are still in much better shape than this time last year. The USDA’s next round of monthly state crop stories is out March 26th, with weekly national and state crop progress and condition reports resuming the following Monday. The trade also has an eye on conditions in the northern U.S. Plains and Canada ahead of spring wheat planting. Any sustained upside will likely continue to be limited by slow export demand. Russia, and to an extent Ukraine, continue to have a hold on the global market due to a price advantage, with prices for both nations declining over the past week.

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