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Grain Comments: 03-28-2024

Good morning.

Finally made it to report day; and data day in general, as markets are set to see all kinds of numbers today. Thursday also marks the final trading day of the week, the final trading day of the month, and the final trading day of the quarter. Markets will be closed Friday for the Good Friday Holiday, and trading will resume at 7pm central time Sunday evening. USDA will take its first real stab at planted acres for the coming season at 11am central, and this along with the quarterly stocks data, will likely drive price direction into the first half of April. Beyond there, focus shifts entirely to weather in the Corn Belt and whether widespread early planting is seen. Corn futures are unchanged to a half cent lower, soybean futures are down 3-4 cents, and the Chicago wheat market is unchanged. Products are mixed, soybean meal is trading $1-2/ton lower, and soybean oil is up 5-10 points. Outside markets are mostly higher, crude oil futures are up $1/bbl, the Dow Jones index is unchanged, and the US$ index is up 25 points.

This morning’s weekly export sales report is expected to show corn sales of 800k to 1.3 mil mt’s, soybean sales of 300k-700k mt’s, and wheat sales of (100k)-300k mt’s. Soybean sales are again expected to be poor.

For today’s quarterly stocks and prospective plantings reports, traders see corn acres at 91.8 mil planted, soybean acres at 86.5 mil, and wheat acres at 47.3 mil.

Corn stocks as of March 1 are seen in a range of 8.129-8.568 bil bu’s, soybean stocks are seen in a range of 1.740-1.986 bil bu’s, and wheat stocks are seen in a range of 0.997-1.080 mil bu’s.

This afternoon’s quarterly hogs and pigs report is expected to show the total March 1 hog inventory unchanged from last year. The breeding herd is expected to be 97% of a year ago, while market hog inventory is seen just over 100% of last year.

Of note, traders also see the quarterly pigs-per-litter rate being 103-104% of last year, and most of the other estimated metrics are based on this.

In the financial world, economists look for today’s jobless claims data to be slightly higher than last week for both initial and continuing claims. Initial claims are seen at 212k, compared to 210k last week; and continuing claims are seen at 1.808 mil, vs 1.807 last week.

Economists also see Q4 GDP data coming in little changed from last month at 3.2%.

10-day forecasts have turned slightly wetter for Argentina, while keeping moisture in Central/North Brazil. Recent rains have been good for replenishing soil moisture in safrinha areas.

The US Midwest was mostly quiet on Wednesday, save for the East Coast. A system producing a mixture of rain and snow looks to make its way East through the Northern half of the Corn Belt this weekend into the first part of next week.

Longer range forecasts also indicate a good chance of moisture for most of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio into the first week of April. Easter weekend looks to be mild temperature wise, before more cool air returns to the Midwest next week.

Have a great day!

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