Corn, soybeans, wheat up ahead of Easter weekend
Soybeans were higher on short covering and technical buying, cementing a higher weekly finish ahead of Easter weekend. The USDA’s new supply and demand estimates were bearish as the department raised U.S. ending stocks and while it cut the outlook for Brazil, it’s still above what Brazil’s government expects. The latest guess from CONAB is 122.1 million tons, down 1.7% on the month because of unfavorable weather in Rio Grande do Sul, but up 6.1% on the year. Reports have truck arrivals at ports in Argentina back to normal, but low water levels on the Parana River are limiting interior boat traffic. The USDA also lowered its’ production outlook for Argentina. Weekly export numbers were bearish as Brazil continues to hold a price advantage over U.S. beans. A lot of Brazilian beans are reportedly on the way to China, with their harvest more than 80% complete and about 75% of the crop sold. Soybean meal was mixed on spread adjustments and bean oil was up on commercial buying.
Corn was modestly higher on short covering and technical buying, with the most active months steady to firm on the week. Weekly export numbers were bullish, including a marketing year high for sales more than halfway through 2019/20. Japan was the big buyer for old crop and China led the way for new crop. That said – Brazil remains a player on the export market and prices in Argentina and Ukraine are becoming more competitive. The updated supply and demand estimates were bearish. U.S. ending stocks were up more than expected on a lower ethanol use guess, as blending demand is hit by coronavirus related stay at home and social distancing restrictions. The USDA did raise the feed use and lower imports. Ethanol futures were higher, despite a sell-off in crude oil. CONAB sees Brazil’s combined corn crop at 101.9 million tons, with the first crop at 25.3 million tons, down 1.5% on the year, the second crop at 75.4 million tons with an anticipated 4.5% rise in planted area, and a third crop projected at 1.16 million tons. Brazil is expected to import corn for feed use because of high domestic prices. DTN says a South Korean feed mill reportedly bought 60,000 tons of corn for Brazil late Wednesday.
The wheat complex was higher on short covering and technical buying, with the May contracts all posting good week to week gains. Most forecasts have drier weather in the southern U.S. Plains along with a cold snap that could damage the developing hard and soft red winter crops. Conditions could also delay fieldwork and early planting activity for spring wheat. The USDA did raise U.S. and world ending stocks projections, with the domestic increase following reductions for feed and export demand. Weekly export sales were up on the week, but below the four-week average with less than two months left in 2019/20. DTN says Japan bought 178,760 tons of food wheat from the U.S. and Australia. Russia’s Ag Ministry left winter grain production unchanged at 125.3 million tons, with 94% of the crop rated “satisfactory”. A 60,000-ton cargo of wheat from Russia is reportedly headed to Saudi Arabia. CONAB expects a 2.4% increase in planted area for Brazil’s winter wheat crop.