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Corn up, watching U.S. planting, central Brazil

Soybeans were lower on fund and technical selling, with most contracts closing near the middle of the day’s range. Soybeans followed soybean meal, crude oil, and global vegetable oils. China did buy U.S. soybeans, but there are concerns about sustained demand due to possible COVID lockdowns. Beijing picked up 330,000 tons, 66,000 for 2021/22 and 264,000 for 2022/23, with another the purchase of another 204,000 tons for 2022/23 announced during the reporting period. Export inspections were down on the week, up on the year, and mainly to China and Spain. The USDA says 3% of U.S. soybeans are planted, compared to the five-year average of 5%. Soybean meal was lower on fund selling, while bean oil managed to finish the section mixed, adjusting spreads. Domestic crush margins remain bullish. Indonesia says it will only restrict exports of refined palm oil, not crude.

Corn was higher on fund and technical buying, finishing near the session’s highs. Corn bounced between support and resistance, while watching more probable stress for second crop corn in central Brazil, roughly 65% of the crop is in some stage of drought, against generally favorable conditions in southern Brazil. There is a chance of frost in southern Brazil later this week, but there’s also a decent near-term chance of rain. That second crop is critical as it is the largest of the three crops and the source of most of Brazil’s exports. During Monday’s session, the USDA’s weekly update was expected to show mixed U.S. planting progress. As of Sunday, 7% of U.S. corn is planted, compared to 15% on average, with 2% of the crop emerged, compared to the usual rate of 3%. Corn export inspections were higher than last week, lower than last year, and primarily to Japan and Mexico.

The wheat complex was mixed. Large parts of the southern U.S. Plains remain very dry and more spring wheat planting delays are likely in the northern U.S. Plains and Canada, supporting Kansas City and Minneapolis, respectively. Chicago was pressured by comparatively good soft red winter conditions, but parts of that growing region are excessively wet. For winter wheat, 27% of the crop is in good to excellent shape, 3% lower than last week, with 11% headed, compared to 19% normally in late April. For spring wheat, 13% of the crop is planted, compared to the typical pace of 15%. The trade continues to monitor the impact of the war in Ukraine. Russia’s wheat exports are showing at least some impact from sanctions and nearly all port activity in Ukraine has ceased because of the invasion. Export inspections stayed ahead of the pace needed to meet USDA estimates for the current marketing year, which wraps up at the end of May, but below week ago and year ago levels. The leading destinations were Mexico and the Philippines.

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