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Grain Comments: 02.29.24

Good morning. Leap year. Ag markets have started the extra day lower in overnight trade. There were 702 contracts of soybeans put out for delivery and 484 contracts of wheat. No corn contracts. Corn futures are 3-4 cents lower, soybean futures are 9-16 cents lower, and Chicago wheat futures are 3-4 cents lower. Products are lower, bean meal is down $3-4/ton, and bean oil is 15 points lower. Outside markets also mostly lower, crude oil futures are down 10-15 cents/bbl, the Dow Jones index is down 120 points, and the US$ index is unchanged.


Today’s Reports: US Weekly Export Inspections; US PCE; US Jobless Claims


  • May soybean futures have again made new contract lows this morning on the first notice day for March contracts. There exists a roughly 13 cent spread between March and May.


  • With one trading day left in February, the average price for Dec corn has been 4.65 1/4, and the average price for November soybeans has been 11.54 1/4.


  • This morning’s export sales report is expected to show decent corn sales, and relatively modest totals of corn and wheat.


  • Corn sales are estimated in a range of 600k-1.2 mil mt’s; soybean sales are estimated in a range of 100k-600k mt’s; and wheat sales are estimated in a range of 200k-500k mt’s.


  • January soybean crush is seen at 196.3 mil bu, which would be up 2.7% from a year ago. Stocks for January were seen at 1.994 bil lbs, vs 2.356 bil last year.


  • Corn used for ethanol was seen at 445.9 mil bu in January, up 1.1% from last year. USDA’s January Fats and Oils report, as well as grain crushings report, will be out at 3pm Thursday.


  • Wildfires continue to ravage the Texas panhandle, with the fire now growing to the second largest in state history. Conditions don’t look to abate before next week.


  • Financial markets Thursday will be steered by the release of the much anticipated January PCE report. The report is expected to show headline inflation being down 0.2% from December at 2.4%. Core inflation is also seen falling to 2.8%.


  • Also of note in the financial markets Thursday is the initial jobless claims report, which is expected to show claims of 210,000, compared with 201,000 last week.


  • The Republican-led House of Reps. is expected to take up a short-term stopgap measure on Thursday that would extend Federal funding that is set to expire at midnight Friday by one week.


  • Little change for South American weather overnight; Argentina saw scattered showers in the North Wednesday, with a more widespread front expected to move through this weekend.


  • Brazil will be slightly drier than normal into the weekend, before more regular rains return next week. Dryness will help to advance soy harvest, but more moisture is needed for the second corn crop.


US Midwest temps again return to record highs by Sunday, with another potentially strong storm system slated for the middle of next week.

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