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Grain Comments: 02-23-2024

Good morning. Happy Friday.

Ag markets are mostly higher to end the week, as traders likely take profits on short positions. Volume totals show fund managers have begun trading off the May contracts with just 4 trading days remaining until first notice day. Corn futures are 3-4 cents higher; soybean futures are 2-6 cents higher, and the Chicago wheat market is up 6-8 cents. Products are mixed, soybean meal is up $0.50-1/ton, while soybean oil is unchanged. Outside markets are mixed, crude oil futures are down $1.30/bbl, the Dow Jones index is up 45 points, and the US$ index is down 5 points.

No new contract lows so far in the overnight session. Will see if we can say the same thing by the close today. Traders again estimate managed money to be close to, if not at, a new all-time record short position in corn and soybean futures.

This morning’s weekly export sales report is expected to show corn sales of 700k-1.5 mil mt’s, soybean sales of 300k-800k mt’s, and wheat sales of 300k-550k mt’s.

Seasonally, the US soybean export window has all but closed. South American offers out of Brazil and Argentina are both cheaper than the US on the global export market.

The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange released weekly crop conditions yesterday afternoon. Soybean conditions were seen holding mostly steady from last week; g/ex was unchanged at 31%, normal was up 2% to 52%, and poor/very poor was down 2% to 17%.

Corn conditions were seen improving 1% in the g/ex category to 28%, normal was up 1% to 57%, and p/vp was down 2% to 15%.

US President Biden announced that E15 ethanol will be available for sale year-round in the US. However, the proposal will not be in effect until 2025.

Barge shipments down the Mississippi River declined in the week ending February 17th to 535k tons, down from 584k the week prior. Corn shipments were up 22.5%, while soybean shipments were down 33%.

This afternoon’s cattle on feed report is expected to show a January marketing rate of 100% of last year, with placements at 88% of last year. This would be the lowest placement rate since 2007.

A Russian drone hit a commercial area near Ukraine’s Black Sea Port of Odesa overnight last night, killing three people. No grain infrastructure damage was reported.

Also relating to Russia, US President Biden announced more than 500 new sanctions targeting Moscow, as the war in Ukraine moves into its third year.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is meeting Argentine President Javier Milei in Buenos Aires today to reaffirm shared interests and expand cooperation on trade, critical materials, human rights and security.

South American weather continues to be dry in Argentina and Southern Brazil, and generally favorable everywhere else.

Today’s COT report will be closely watched for after the close today.

Have a good weekend!



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