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Grain Comments: 03-14-2024

Good morning.

Ag markets are again mixed in the overnight trading session to begin Thursday. Lower wheat trade has pulled corn lower, while the soy complex holds marginally in the green. Price discovery is all about South America and their export prices for another 2-3 weeks, before attention quickly shifts to the US spring planting season and the somewhat dry soil profile in parts of the corn belt. Corn futures are trading 1-2 cents lower, soybean futures are trading 2-3 cents higher, and the Chicago wheat market is down 5-7 cents. Products are mostly higher, soybean meal is up $1/ton, while soybean oil is unchanged. Outside markets are higher as well, crude oil futures are trading 50-70 cents higher, the Dow Jones index is up 150 points, and the US$ index is up 5 points.

On the final trade day for March contracts, deliveries included 54 contracts of soybean meal, 14 contracts of soybeans, 157 contracts of soybean oil, 54 contracts of corn, and 7 contracts of Chicago wheat.

There was confusion Wednesday afternoon regarding Chinese wheat cancelations; a Reuters article reported China had also canceled French wheat, but then corrected the report, saying the cancelations being discussed were the US ones that were well known from last week.

Fresh reports this morning indicate China did in fact either cancel or postpone around 1 mmt of Australian wheat, which was scheduled for Feb/March/April.

This morning’s weekly export sales report is expected to show corn sales in a range of 800k-1.4 mil mt’s, soybean sales in a range of 250k-800k mt’s, and wheat sales in a range of -200k-550k mt’s.

Argentina’s Rosario Grains Exchange updated production estimates for corn and soybeans on Wednesday; they increased soy production by 500k mt’s to 50 mmt’s, while leaving corn production unchanged at 57 mmt’s.

Private US ag company Allendale, Inc. released its survey-based spring acreage estimates on Wednesday; the group showed corn acres at 93.472 mil, and soybean acres at 85.832 mil acres. This compares to USDA at 91 mil for corn and 87.5 mil for soybeans.

Also, of note on the report, the group estimated the US producer was roughly 63% sold on old crop corn, and roughly 70% sold on old crop soybeans.

Tomorrow’s NOPA soybean crush report is expected to show February soy crush at 178.058 mil bu’s; this would be down 4.2% from January, but up 7.6% from Feb 2023.

Financial markets are set to see a frenzy of data released Thursday morning. US PPI, retail sales, and jobless data are all set to be released Thursday, ahead of next week’s Fed meeting.

German container shipper Hapag-Lloyd announced Thursday its net profit for 2023 dropped 83% due to global vessel oversupply, as well as the crisis in the Red Sea.

Weather forecasts saw little change overnight for South America. Totals were slightly increased for Southern Brazil on a front moving out of Argentina, but otherwise details remain the same. North/Central Brazil remains generally drier over the next 10 days.

The US Midwest is again seeing storms overnight, with the heaviest totals being reported in the North/Eastern corn belt. Some severe weather in the form of hail and tornadoes has also been reported with these storms. Temps drop off Saturday and look to remain a little more seasonal through most of next week.

Have a great day.

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