Corn establishes new contract lows
Soybeans were mixed on spread adjustments. Argentina has suspended its’ ag export registry and China could start issuing tariff waivers next week. However, weekly export numbers were bearish, both sales and shipments, and while China did buy U.S. beans last week, it was a routine amount. Unknown destinations canceled on more beans than either Japan, the top buyer, or China bought. The trade is also monitoring harvest and development conditions in Argentina and Brazil. Soybean meal was higher and bean oil was lower on product spread adjustments. Soybean product exports were also bearish. Meal picked up additional support from Argentina’s export registry suspension; Argentina is the world’s biggest exporter of soybean meal. Argentina’s president is expected to announce higher export taxes, possibly this weekend. A survey by Farm Futures projects 2020 U.S. soybean acreage at 80.6 million acres, up 4.5 million from 2019. That will depend on weather, corn planting, and, in double-crop areas, winter wheat harvest activity.
Corn was lower on fund and technical selling. Corn made new contract lows on the broader market losses, concerns about coronavirus, and bearish export numbers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has entered correction territory after the recent steep decline. Weekly sales were towards the low end of estimates, continuing the pattern seen for most of this marketing year, which is nearing the halfway mark. Corn is now oversold, which could provide support at some point. Corn is also watching conditions in South America, including weather for second crop corn planting in Brazil. Ukraine’s Ag Ministry says corn sales for the current marketing year are 19.1 million tons, with total grain exports 23% ahead of last marketing year. A survey by Farm Futures sees 2020 corn acreage at 96.6 million, up nearly 8% on the year and potentially the second highest on record, if weather cooperates. Parts of the Midwest, southeastern Corn Belt, and Delta are wet, with the potential for more wet weather this spring in some areas. Ethanol futures were lower. Ethanol production was up last week but supplies held close to record highs, possibly because of slow export demand. Sorghum exports hit a marketing year high, mainly to unknown destinations and China.
The wheat complex was lower on fund and technical selling, ahead of Friday’s first notice day for CBOT March contracts. Along with the losses in the broader market, wheat prices moved lower in France and Russia heading into the U.S. session. Export numbers were bearish, sales were lower than expected, with plenty of global competition, including from France, the European Union, and Russia. Heavy rain in parts of Australia following three years of drought could prompt higher planted area for their next crop and bring them back as a major player on the export market. Also, while the U.S. dollar index was down Thursday, it has gained a lot of ground recently on a flight to quality, which has also largely benefited gold as well. Ukraine’s Ag Ministry says marketing year to date wheat sales are 16.5 million tons, out of a total for grain exports of 40.1 million tons. The USDA’s next set of supply and demand estimates is out March 10th. A survey by Farm Futures estimates 2020 spring wheat acreage at 12.5 million, the third year in a row with a decline, because of the delayed 2019 harvest and wet weather in parts of the northern U.S. Plains and Pacific Northwest. U.S. hard red winter conditions mostly look good, while some soft red winter areas are excessively wet.