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Corn up Friday, with soybeans and wheat mixed

Soybeans were mixed on bull spreading, while ending the week with solid gains. Nearby contracts had more support from Thursday’s USDA reports, with bullish surprises in U.S. production, carryover, and quarterly stocks. Dry weather remains an issue in Argentina, while most of Brazil looks good. Further reductions in Argentina’s crop are likely and though we have probably seen the high-water mark for Brazil’s crop already, more changes are possible as harvest moves forward, even though record production remains probable. Brazilian grain trade group ANEC says there are reports of soybean sales from Brazil into Argentina. The NOPA’s member crush numbers are out Tuesday, with analysts expecting a crush of 182.907 million bushels. Crush margins remain bullish. Soybean meal and oil futures were lower on Friday, taking profits. Indonesia’s government says it will limit exports and encourage higher domestic biodiesel use, tightening the global vegetable oil market. China’s General Administration of Customs says December soybean imports were 10.56 million tons, the biggest month since June 2021, but cumulative 2022 imports were 91.08 million tons, down 5.6% on the year.

Corn was modestly higher on fund and technical buying, adding to the higher weekly finish. Corn saw follow through support after the USDA numbers with U.S. ending stocks projected at a near ten-year low. Any upside could be limited by slow export and ethanol demand, but there are chances for both of those to turn around. For exports, the global market is signaling a possible window for U.S. corn starting in March which could last through the end of Brazil’s second crop harvest this summer. For ethanol, demand could benefit from higher blends being offered at U.S. pumps, but that will also depend on demand for gasoline. Commodity markets are closed for Monday’s regular session, reopening Monday night. That also pushes back the normal governmental reports a day. Ukraine’s Ag Ministry says 85% of that nation’s corn crop has been harvested with a running total of 23.5 million tons. China’s government says it has approved increased imports of GMO crops.

The wheat complex was mixed, consolidating after Thursday’s gains, with the most active months firm to higher on the week. The USDA didn’t make any major adjustments to world production numbers and quarterly U.S. stocks were smaller than expected. On the global side of the ledger, there’s some expectation the USDA will raise production estimates for Australia and Russia in the next couple of months. U.S. winter wheat acres are up, but drought is an issue in parts of the southwestern Plains, which dragged down condition ratings ahead of dormancy and will likely affect yield and harvested area. Minneapolis didn’t have an overwhelmingly bearish reaction to the big year-to-year jump in spring wheat production, with an eye on planting intentions ahead of the USDA’s projections out at the end of March.

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