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Quiet, lower finish for soybeans, corn, wheat

Soybeans were lower on fund and technical selling. Crush margins are solid, overall demand is good, and soybean oil bounced off recent lows, but there’s not a lot of buying interest this week ahead of Thanksgiving. Markets are closed Wednesday night into Friday morning, with a shortened session scheduled for Friday. The holiday pushes the USDA’s weekly export sales numbers back to Friday. Those numbers will be watched closely to see how demand from China is holding up. That’s a question mark due to rising COVID cases and Beijing’s zero-COVID policy, with a narrowing window for U.S. sales because of competitive pricing from Brazil. Weather in South America continues to generally favor Brazil over Argentina. Parts of southern Brazil could see a drier pattern, but most of central and northern Brazil are in excellent condition. 17% of Argentina’s soybean crop is harvested, compared to 31% a year ago.

Corn was modestly lower on fund and technical selling. 96% of U.S. corn is harvested, with most of the work left to do in the northern and eastern Midwest. Part of the crop might remain in the field until spring, but that’s expected to be a small percentage of the national total. The USDA’s next set of supply, demand, and production numbers is out December 9th, with the preliminary final 2022 corn and soybean totals scheduled for January 12th. Corn is also watching planting and development weather in South America, with the next set of numbers from CONAB for Brazil slated for December 8th. Argentina continues to grapple with drought as only 32% of corn is planted, compared to 48% this time last year. Export demand is disappointing, while feed and fuel use remains strong. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s weekly ethanol production and stocks numbers are out Wednesday. Export demand could improve later this year ahead of the planting of Brazil’s critical second corn crop.

The wheat complex was lower on fund and technical selling. Most forecasts for the U.S. Plains are mixed, with rain this week expected to miss some of the drier parts of the region. Export demand for U.S. wheat is slow with prices at a big premium to most major competing exporters, including Russia and Ukraine. Russian aggression against Ukraine continues, but for now, grain continues to leave the Black Sea region. The trade is also monitoring yield results in Argentina following drought and quality numbers in Australia after heavy rainfall. The European Union’s MARS group says a warm October aided the establishment of winter crops but added the lack of soil moisture in southern Europe did delay planting in some countries.

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