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Grain Comments: 04-18-2024

Good morning.

Another quiet night of trade at the CBOT to start Thursday. Small ranges and light volume have been the theme in the overnight markets this week, and Wednesday night was no different. Traders remain uninterested in taking on large new positions amidst the start of the Spring seeding campaign, as well as a number of flash points on the other side of the world. Choppiness looks to persist for another day, with short covering likely into the weekend. Corn futures are 1-2 cents lower; soybean futures are 7-8 cents lower, and the Chicago wheat market is up 3-4 cents. Products are lower, soybean meal is down $1-2/ton, and soybean oil is down 20-30 points. Outside markets are mixed, crude oil futures are down 30-40 cents/bbl, the Dow Jones index is up 75 points, and the US$ index is down 10 points.

This morning’s weekly export sales report is expected to show relatively ok corn and soybean sales for the week, while wheat sales are again seen on the short side.

Corn exports are seen in a range of 300k-900k mt’s (vs 325,479 last week), soybean sales are seen in a range of 300k-650k (vs 305,257 last week), and wheat sales are seen in a range of (100) k-200k (vs 80,720 last week).

Also, of note on export estimates, traders see up to 400k mt’s of new crop wheat sales, as well as 450k mt’s of new crop soybean sales in this week’s report.

USDA ag attach√© in Argentina lowered its estimate for 2023/24 corn production to 51 mmt’s, citing dry weather in some areas, as well as the corn stunt disease outbreak.

The same group sees 2024/25 corn production at 48 mmt’s, with exports seen at 34 mmt’s. USDA currently estimates 2023/24 exports at 42 mmt’s.

According to Chinese customs data, March corn imports totaled 1.71 mmt’s, which was down 22% from last year. Soybean imports totaled 5.54 mmt’s, down 15.3% from last year. YTD corn imports are up 5.1%, while YTD soybean imports are down 10.8%.

This morning’s jobless claims data is expected to come in similar to last week, with initial claims seen at 215k. This would be up from 211k last week. Otherwise, there are a plethora of Fed speeches scheduled for today, which will likely give markets direction into the weekend.

24-hour precipitation maps show good rains in a pocket of NE Kansas, as well as a small pocket in the Southeast and areas around the Great Lakes States. Another low-pressure system makes its way through the corn belt Thursday bringing storms and rain, before dryness is seen for a few days into next week.

Two-week forecasts trended wetter overnight, with the EU model now seeing rains for the Western part of Texas into the SW. Confidence is low but this would be a benefit to the area should it produce. The GFS sees rain for almost all of the Midwest in the two-week period.

Temps are still seen dropping tonight into the weekend for most of the Midwest. The projected frost line dips into Northern MO Sunday morning, with temps then seen warming from there.

South American forecasts are having troubles with the coming storm system for Argentina. This morning’s run has removed some of the heavy rains that were added yesterday, though shower chances do still exist.

Central/Southern Brazil has trended drier as well, with now nearly no moisture seen for most of the safrinha corn growing area in the next week. The monsoon season is in retreat in Brazil.

Have a great day!

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