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Soybeans firm after reports, with corn, wheat lower

Soybeans were modestly higher on short covering and technical buying, but with March and May both below $12 after trading above that mark. The USDA raised U.S. ending stocks slightly, while lowering Brazil’s crop a little bit and raising exports. That’s in contrast to a big cut by CONAB with a reduction in their export guess. There were no changes to the soybean outlook for Argentina this month and China’s imports were left unchanged at 102 million tons. Part of the gains in soybeans were tied the higher move in bean oil on renewable demand expectations. Soybean meal was lower on the recent rain in Argentina, which is normally the world’s largest exporter of soybean products. Export sales last week were up from the previous week’s marketing year low, but below average, primarily to China and Mexico, with a big reduction by unknown destinations. Brazil’s ANEC sees February 2024 soybean exports at 7.3 million tons, compared to 7.55 million for February 2023. Statistics Canada says canola stocks in Canada at the end of 2023 were 12.851 million tons, up 1.3% from the end of 2022 due to slower exports, while soybean stocks were 3.831 million tons, an increase of 9.8% thanks to a larger crop.

Corn was modestly lower on fund and technical selling. U.S. corn ending stocks were above a month ago, with a modest decrease for Brazil’s crop and no change for Argentina. CONAB slashed its corn estimate for Brazil, so further cuts by USDA are likely in March, with updated numbers out on the 8th. The USDA also lowered exports for Brazil, which if realized, would put the U.S. back in the top slot for exports during the 2023/24 marketing year. CONAB’s next guess for Brazil is scheduled for March 12th. U.S. corn exports last week were slightly above the week before that and quite a bit larger than average, mainly to unknown destinations and Japan. China had a minor net reduction, but some of what was picked up by unknown could be switched. Colombia did buy 200,000 tons of 2023/24 U.S. corn ahead of the open. Brazil’s ANEC estimates corn exports this month at 773,940 million tons, compared to 1.94 million a year ago. Statistics Canada says corn stocks at the end of last year were 11.298 million tons, 4.8% lower because of a lower carry in and greater domestic use.

The wheat complex was lower on fund and technical selling, along with the firm trade in the dollar during the session. U.S. wheat ending stocks were up from January against a small reduction for the global carryover. There were no changes for production or exports for Russia, but exports were up for Australia and Ukraine. Really, it was a month of minimal changes overall for grains and oilseeds, typical for February. U.S. wheat sales were above the prior week, but below average, with South Korea and the Philippines taking the top slots. Unknown destinations had a net cancelation. Nearing the final quarter of the 2023/24 marketing year, U.S. wheat exports are behind 2022/23. CONAB’s first look at Brazil’s winter wheat crop has production at 10.2 million tons, which would be larger than last year. Stats Canada’s total wheat stocks were close to expectations and 10.3% below a year ago at 20.681 million tons due to a smaller crop. Another drop in French milling wheat futures added to the U.S. woes and compounded losses.

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