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Soybeans, corn up on decline in crop ratings

Soybeans were sharply higher on commercial and technical buying. The USDA’s national good to excellent rating slipped 1%, continuing the “tale of two crops” pattern seen this growing season, and there was also spillover from the strength in soybean meal. Soybean meal was supported by strong domestic cash demand. Bean oil was up with a higher move in Malaysian palm oil. The USDA is expected to lower its yield estimate Friday, with further reductions probable in the coming months. That’s following planting delays and a generally hot, dry pattern during key development periods in the western Midwest into the Plains. A sustained shift in the pattern is unlikely, but some areas are seeing a break from the recent hotter than normal temperatures. The USDA will also be updating 2022 U.S. planted area total Friday after a resurvey of producers in the northern U.S. Plains.

Corn was higher on commercial and technical buying. The USDA’s corn condition rating fell 3% and is now below year ago levels due to hot, dry weather in some key growing areas. Additionally, development is slower than average, nationally. China bought 133,000 tons of new crop U.S. corn. That follows reports earlier this week that Brazil would be shipping corn to China sooner than expected due to tight supplies and high domestic prices. The sale followed Monday’s purchases by unknown destinations and Italy and comes during the latter portion of Brazil’s second crop harvest. The U.S. does have a price advantage over Brazil starting this fall. CONAB’s updated outlook for Brazil crops is out Thursday. Corn is also monitoring the export pace out of Ukraine, with more ships cleared to leave this week. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s weekly ethanol production and stocks numbers will be out Wednesday.

The wheat complex was mixed, with Chicago mostly lower and Kansas City and Minneapolis higher. The USDA’s spring wheat rating dropped 6% and harvest is slower than normal at 9%. Dry weather is an issue in the northwestern U.S. Plains, Europe, and parts of Argentina, but Russia is on track for a record crop. Ukraine continues to be a huge question mark for commodities in general. There are uncertainties about the winter grain harvest and storage, spring grain development, and exports, none of which are probably going to be answered any time soon. More vessels have reportedly been cleared to leave Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, but none of those vessels are shipping wheat. While Russia is continuing to attack parts of Ukraine, those grain shipments have been untouched, so far. The biggest changes in Friday’s USDA supply and demand update are expected to be on the global side of the ledger.

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