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Grain Comments: 03-15-2024

Good morning.

Another mixed night of trade at the CBOT to end the week. Spot soybeans again touched $12 overnight, but this seems to be fairly heady resistance for now until more is confirmed regarding South America’s crop or US planting intentions. Some private groups see less of a switch to soy from corn vs last year, which could be supportive to soybeans going into April. Corn futures are down a penny, soybean futures are down 7-8 cents, and the Chicago wheat market is up 2-3 cents. Products are lower, soybean meal is down around $1/ton, and soybean oil is down 40-50 points. Outside markets are mixed, crude oil futures are 40-50 cents lower, the Dow Jones index is up 50 points, and the US$ index is down 5 points.

March deliveries for delivery date March 18 included 5 contracts of soybean meal, 18 contracts of soybean oil, 28 contracts of corn, 11 contracts of Chicago wheat, and 38 contracts of soybeans.

Late Thursday, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange released their weekly crop progress update for Argentina; the report showed soybean conditions in the g/ex category improved 1% last week to 30%. Normal, or fair, was unchanged at 54%, while p/vp was down 1% to 16%.

Corn conditions took a hit, with g/ex registering at 25% for the week, down from 29% the week prior. Normal was unchanged at 58%, while p/vp jumped up 4% to 17%.

In a comment, the group mentioned improved rains as being the reason for improvement in soy conditions but did caution that excessive moisture could lead to crop loss and disease in some areas.

The fall in corn ratings was attributed to an increased presence of ‘maize leafhoppers’, an insect which carries the harmful spiroplasma disease. Soil moisture conditions for corn were only down 1% on the week, while soybean moisture increased by 5%.

Analysis firm Strategie Grains lowered their estimate of all EU soft-wheat production by 1 mil tons in a monthly report. The group now sees production at 121.6 mil tons for the 2024/2025 season.

Taking an opposite stance, the IGC (International Grains Council) said it expects global grain stocks to rise 2 mil tons in 2024/25, to 601 mil tons, as increased global production offsets smaller carry-in stocks.

Barge shipments down the Mississippi River increased to 593k tons in the week ending March 9th, up from 429k tons the previous week. Corn shipments were up 78.2% from the week prior, while soybean shipments were up just 5.6%.

Today’s NOPA crush report, out at 11am central time, is expected to show soybean crush for February around 178 mil bu’s according to analysts. If realized, this would be down 4.2% from January, but up 7.6% from Feb 2023.

In political news, the bill for year-round E15 sales has hit a roadblock in the US Senate according to the bill’s author, Senator Deb Fischer. Consideration from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has allegedly been hard to come by.

Financial markets will see little in the way of market making data between now and next week’s Fed Meeting on March 19/20, where all eyes/ears will be on the tone toward coming rate decreases.

Overnight, leaders of the Hamas militant group have proposed a new comprehensive ceasefire plan to mediators and the US. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu remarked that Hamas was still making unrealistic demands, but that Israel’s War Cabinet would further discuss the matter.

Weather wise, Brazil sees rainfall of 2-3″ over the Central/South in the coming days, while the North remains short changed. Argentina has seen good rains, with potentially too much rain in isolated areas, and will continue to do so through the weekend.

Rainfall reports of 0.75-2″ were seen across the Midwest in the last 24 hours, with the Northern and Eastern areas of the corn belt receiving the best amounts. Temps are still expected to cool into next week.

Have a great weekend.

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