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Soybeans, corn, wheat end session in the red

Soybeans were modestly lower on fund and technical selling, along with the lower moves in soybean and crude oils. Export sales numbers were bearish with expectations for the pace to continue to tail off as the harvest of Brazil record crop advances. The leading buyers were China and Spain, with a significant cancellation by unknown destinations. Still, the overall 2022/23 pace is ahead of 2021/22 and shipments have been solid. The USDA’s next round of supply, demand, and production numbers is out March 8th, with CONAB’s updated estimates for Brazil scheduled for March 9th. Forecasts have only scattered showers in Argentina this weekend into next week, but losses in Argentina will likely be canceled out by record Brazilian production. Stateside, the trade is watching early planted acreage signals. Soybean meal was solidly higher and bean oil was sharply lower on aggressive product spread adjustments.

Corn was lower on fund and technical selling. Corn is watching South America, especially the second crop planting pace in Brazil. That is slower than average due to the slow soybean harvest pace, but should pick up steam as the harvest moves forward. Argentina is expected to see a return to hot, dry conditions after some expected scattered showers this weekend. Recent precipitation has helped recharge soil moisture in the Midwest ahead of spring, with the USDA’s planted area estimates out at the end of March. Export sales remain much slower than a year ago, with China largely bypassing the U.S. for Brazil. Last week’s big buyers were Japan and unknown destinations. The window for U.S. corn exports is expected to open a little wider in March, but that will likely snap shut after Brazil’s second crop harvest gets underway.

The wheat complex was lower on fund and technical selling. Most forecasts continue to have a mixed precipitation outlook for hard red winter growing areas of the southern U.S. Plains, benefiting parts of the region while still missing some of the drier areas. That’s likely going to trim yield projections and could lead to increased rates of abandonment. There’s also probably been at least some winterkill damage. The soft red winter region remains in comparatively good shape. The trade also has an eye on conditions ahead of spring wheat planting in the northern U.S. Plains and Canada. Export numbers were bearish, Mexico and Colombia topped the list, with Russia holding most of the market share. Ukraine is still exporting grain, but the pace has been cut back by slower inspections by Russia as the war enters its second year. The trade is waiting to see if the Black Sea Grain Initiative will be extended, with the deal set to expire in mid-March. There’s talk but no confirmation, yet, India will extend its wheat export ban. Australia is also reportedly seeing solid export movement.

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