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Grain Comments: 12-22-2023

Good morning.

Happy Friday and we have hit the last trading session before the long Christmas weekend. Mum was the trade in the overnight with the most excitement coming from the Dow Jones futures, which are down about 100 points. Aside from that, most other commodities quiet in light volume. Ranges have been like previous nights this week. Corn futures are mixed to unchanged; soybean futures are 1-2 cents higher, and the Chi wheat market is also mixed/unchanged. Products firm, both bean meal and oil trading marginally higher. Crude oil futures are 30-40 cents higher; the US$ index is down 25 points, and at the lowest level since summer.

24-hour rainfall maps as of midnight are showing totals of 0.1-1.5″ in some of the driest areas of Northern and Eastern Brazil.

The GFS is now in better agreement with the wetter EU/Canadian models, with all seen calling for another 1-2″ by the first of next week.

Notable is that next week’s forecast returns to a hotter/drier profile, before more rainfall is advertised in the 2-week period.

With soil moisture deficits exceeding some 10″ in areas, a lasting shift to a more normal moisture profile will be needed beyond this weekend.

Some producers on social media are saying this rain has already stabilized some of their later planted fields, but damage has undoubtedly been done to the earlier planted ones. How much will be debated into February. For now, trade will likely talk the 150 number until more is known.

The Goiana Agricultural Defense Agency on Thursday asked the Brazilian government to extend the deadline for soybean planting until January 12th, as drought and adverse weather conditions have caused delayed planting for producers. The period was already extended once this year, from December 31st to January 2nd.

Producers in Mato Grosso (MT) are currently allowed to plant soybeans until January the 13th, following an extension of their planting window by 20 days earlier this month.

In other news, Israel’s military overnight ordered the evacuation of central Gaza, as they intend to widen their ground offensive in the already beleaguered city.

The White House said the $14.1 billion U.S. Steel sale to Japanese Nippon Steel deserved “serious scrutiny” regarding its potential impact on national security and supply chains. “This administration will be ready to look carefully at the findings of any such investigation and to act if appropriate,” said Biden’s top economic advisor.

Stocks appear to be catching their collective breath going into the year end, following record high closes this past week. Inflation data and other leading indicators continue to point toward a more comfortable 2024.

We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday, and a Merry Christmas!

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