Soybeans bounce, corn & wheat give back some gains
Soybeans were modestly higher on short covering and technical buying, bouncing back from Tuesday’s weak finish. Crop conditions in most of South America look good, with harvest just over 20% complete in Brazil. DTN says Brazil’s key state of Mato Grosso is 45% harvested. The trade is waiting for China to start issuing one-year tariff waivers, with applications accepted started March 2nd. A sustained increase in purchases might not happen for several months, after Brazil exhausts its supply of exportable beans. Brazilian beans are at a discount to U.S. supplies and that gap widens into late spring/early summer months. The USDA’s weekly export sales report is out Friday morning, delayed by Presidents Day. Stateside, an early survey of analysts by a news service sees U.S. soybean planted for 2020 at 85 million acres, compared to 76.1 million in 2019. Soybean meal was higher and bean oil was lower on the adjustment of product spreads.
Corn was modestly lower on profit taking and technical selling, reversing the previous session’s modestly higher finish. Corn is also watching conditions in South America, with about a third of Brazil’s second corn crop planted. That’s the larger crop and the source of most of their exports. Brazil, Argentina, and Ukraine have all become big competitors for export business. The trade is also monitoring pre-planting weather in the U.S., especially the wet conditions in parts of the Corn Belt and Delta. An early news service survey sees corn planted area at 93.6 million acres, compared to 89.7 million last year. The USDA’s 2020 estimate will be released this week at the annual outlook meeting. Ethanol futures were lower. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s weekly ethanol production and stocks numbers are out Thursday. U.S. ethanol, corn, DDGS, and sorghum are all being talked about as potential purchase targets by China.
The wheat complex was modestly lower on profit taking and technical selling, giving back a small portion of Tuesday’s gains. The recent rally has priced U.S. wheat above most major export competitors, including Russia, but demand has been better than expected this marketing year, with 2019/20 sales outpacing 2018/19. The current marketing year for wheat runs through the end of May. According to the TASS news service, Russia’s Ag Ministry says wheat planted area in 2020 could be up 3% to 5% from 2019. The firm ProAgro sees a 3.2% decline in 2020 planted area for Ukraine, including a more than 7% decline in wheat and steady planted area for corn. Hard red winter conditions look good, but some soft red winter areas are excessively wet, which will be an issue when the crop emerges from dormancy. According to a survey of analysts by a news service, 2020 U.S. wheat planted area is expected to be 45.2 million acres, unchanged from a year ago. DTN says Jordan is tendering for 120,000 tons of wheat. U.S. wheat is also being talked about as a possible purchase target by China.