Corn, soybeans down ahead of planting numbers
Soybeans were lower on fund and technical selling. The broader market was mostly bearish during the session on renewed tensions with China, including talk of new tariffs by President Trump, related to an alleged lack of disclosure about COVID-19 by Beijing. That is expected to further complicate Chinese demand for U.S. soybeans, a critical part of the Phase One trade agreement. Weekly export inspections were bearish, mostly headed to China and Egypt. The trade continues to monitor harvest conditions in and shipping out of Argentina and Brazil. The trade was also watching planting weather ahead of the weekly USDA update. As of Sunday, 23% of U.S. soybeans are planted, compared to the five-year average of 11%. Soybean meal and oil followed beans lower.
Corn was modestly lower on fund and technical selling. Most analysts expected solid week to week national planting progress for corn, with some estimates as high as 50% complete. The USDA says 51% of U.S. corn is planted, compared to 39% on average, with 8% emerged, compared to the normal pace of 10%. Unknown destinations bought 115,800 tons of old crop U.S. corn ahead of the open. That might be China filling some recent rumors, but it might not be either. Weekly export inspections were larger than expected, mainly to Mexico and Colombia, but fell short of the mark needed to meet USDA projections for the 2019/20 marketing year. Ethanol futures were steady to modestly higher. The USDA announced up to $100 million in competitive grants designed to aid the renewable fuels industry. The USDA’s attaché in Pretoria says South Africa is still exporting corn despite COVID-19 restrictions.
The wheat complex was mostly modestly higher on short covering and technical buying, rebounding from early losses. Forecasts generally had improved rainfall in parts of Europe and the Black Sea region. U.S. conditions look mixed for winter wheat and spring wheat planting delays are probable in parts of the northern U.S. Plains. For winter wheat, 55% of the crop is rated good to excellent, up 1% on the week, while 32% has emerged, compared to 38% on average. For spring wheat, 29% is planted, compared to 43% typically this time of year, and 6% has emerged, compared to the 16% on average. Weekly export inspections were bearish with just about one reporting month left in the current marketing year. There has been more talk of China buying U.S. wheat, but no new sales have been announced recently. Egypt’s government says it has purchased 1 million tons of wheat from local farmers out of an expected 3.6 million tons.