Soybeans close modestly lower, still up on week
Soybeans were modestly lower on fund and technical selling, but March and May did close above $14 and, overall, contracts put in good weekly gains. Beans followed through on Thursday’s losses, with palm oil lower heading into the session, but losses were limited by the fundamentals. There were no deliveries on March soybeans or soybean meal. Crop weather issues in South America are ongoing, with a lot of focus on harvest delays in parts of Brazil, demand continues to be solid, and the USDA is projecting tight supplies for the 2020/21 and 2021/22 marketing years. Last week’s export numbers were disappointing but were impacted by U.S. weather and China largely being out of the market due to Lunar New Year. Additionally, demand from China has slowed because of a cut in the crush pace due to the harvest delays in and shipping delays from Brazil and high U.S. prices. The USDA’s next set of supply and demand estimates is out March 9th. Soybean meal was lower on fund and technical selling, while bean oil was mixed, mostly higher, on bull spreading.
Corn was mostly modestly lower, but still eked out a week-to-week gain. Corn is also watching South America, with scattered rainfall in the forecast for dry parts of southern Brazil and Argentina. Still, Argentina is expected to see a net drying effect because of high temperatures. Second crop planting delays should continue in other portions of Brazil, with the optimal planting window closed. March finished firm, with no deliveries reported on the first notice days. Stateside, early planting delays are expected in parts of the Delta. The USDA’s Prospective Planting report is out March 31st, along with Quarterly Grain Stocks. Ethanol futures were unchanged. The Renewable Fuels Association says U.S. ethanol production during 2020 was 13.93 billion gallons, down 11.7% from 2019 and the lowest annual total since 2013. DTN says a South Korean feed mill bought 137,000 tons of optional origin corn.
The wheat complex was lower on fund and technical selling, with May Kansas City and Minneapolis both weak for the week and May Chicago modestly higher. Paris milling wheat was lower heading into the U.S. session and export demand for U.S. wheat has slowed down with the final quarter of the 2020/21 marketing year underway March 1st. Drought continues to be a concern in much of the U.S. Plains and at least some winterkill damage is probable, even if that damage won’t be fully known for weeks. The trade is also monitoring overwintering conditions in the European Union, Russia, and Ukraine, weather ahead of spring wheat planting in the northern U.S. Plains and Canada, and harvest activity in Australia. France’s AgriMer says 87% of that nation’s wheat crop is in good to excellent condition, compared to 64% a year ago. DTN says Taiwan is tendering for 100,410 tons of U.S. milling wheat.