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Profit taking pushes corn, soybeans, wheat lower

Soybeans were lower on profit taking and technical selling but were mostly able to finish above the session’s lows. Contracts gave back some of Tuesday’s gains, while still watching weather issues in South America. Export demand has slowed down as Brazil’s prices have eased, even with continued harvest delays, while Argentina continues to see mixed conditions, with the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange reporting 18% of the crop is in the pod filling stage. The USDA’s attaché in Argentina sees production at 47.5 million tons, a half a million under the USDA’s official estimate, but raised the crush projection. Ag consulting firm Datagro sees 2020/21 combined production for South America at 196.94 million tons, slightly less than the prior guess, but still a record high for the continent. The USDA’s next set of official estimates is out March 9th. Soybean meal was lower and bean oil was higher, adjusting product spreads.

Corn was lower on profit taking and technical selling. Corn is also watching weather in South America, with more rain in parts of Brazil and dry weather for most of Argentina and parts of Brazil. Argentina’s FOB corn prices currently sit well below U.S. prices. The USDA’s weekly export sales report is out Thursday morning, with uncertainties about sustained demand from China. Still no deliveries against the March corn contract. Stateside, early planting is behind average in parts of the south and Delta. The USDA’s survey-based prospective planting numbers are out at the end of the month, along with quarterly grain stocks. Ethanol futures were unchanged. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says ethanol production averaged 849,000 barrels a day, up 191,000 on the week as several plants came back online following the previous week’s snow and bitterly cold conditions, but down 230,000 on the year, while stocks hit a twelve-week low at 22.425 million barrels, a decrease of 360,000 from the previous week and 2.539 million from a year ago.

The wheat complex was lower on profit taking and technical selling. Export demand for U.S. wheat remains slow and the global supply outlook is bearish. Losses were limited somewhat by condition concerns for U.S. winter wheat and drought in parts of the northern Plains ahead of spring wheat planting. The trade is also waiting to see any winterkill damage in Russia and Ukraine, while also monitoring conditions ahead of spring wheat planting in Canada and harvest activity in Australia. The USDA’s attaché in Kazakhstan estimates 2020/21 wheat production at 13.2 million tons, below the official guess of 14.256 million, but above the 2019/20 total of 11.452 million tons. Exports are projected at 7.3 million tons, compared to 6.986 million last marketing year. DTN says Japan bought 82,937 tons of food wheat from the U.S. and Canada, while Algeria is tendering for 50,000 tons of wheat.

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