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Soybeans mostly firm as corn, wheat see pressure

Soybeans were mostly modestly higher on commercial spread adjustments, with January notching another contract high. Parts of Brazil saw better than expected rain heading into the session and export sales were a marketing year low for the second consecutive week, even with another strong week for shipments. China was the big buyer with more than a million tons out of the nearly 1.4 million-ton total, but demand has slowed as prices have moved higher and South American planting has advanced. Near-term conditions look mostly dry for Argentina, with a better chance of precipitation next week ahead of another possible drier pattern. Soybean meal was lower and bean oil was higher on the adjustment of product spreads. Soybean oil has seen continued support from strong global vegetable oil demand as farmers in Argentina continue to hold back on selling beans.

Corn was modestly lower on profit taking and technical selling. Corn was also watching planting and development conditions in South America, with longer-term outlooks still mostly warm and dry. That’s in-line with the predominant La Nina weather pattern, there’s still a way to go until the crop is fully planted, much less made, and Brazil’s critical second crop isn’t planted until after soybeans are harvested. The trade is also watching the tail end of the U.S. harvest. Weekly export numbers were bearish, with modest sales to China and slow shipments. Some of the recent sales to unknown destinations will likely end up being switched to China for delivery. January corn at China’s Dalian Exchange topped $10 per bushel this week, a potential signal of more imports in the near future. Ethanol futures were lower. DTN says a South Korean feed mill bought 132,000 tons of optional origin corn in a flash tender.

The wheat complex was lower on fund and technical selling. Chicago and Kansas City continue to monitor conditions for winter wheat ahead of dormancy. Most forecasts do have at least some rain in the southern U.S. Plains over the next week, but after that would be after another few days of soil moisture lowering warm, windy, and dry conditions. There are also areas of concern for U.S. soft red winter crop and drought continues to be an issue for winter wheat in Russia and Ukraine. Harvest is underway in parts of Australia, which is expected to take a bigger role in the export market after a couple of years of below normal production. That said – imports from Australia by China could be limited by trade tensions between the two nations. Weekly export sales were a marketing year low, China was the biggest buyer, while the overall pace remains just ahead of last year. DTN says Japan is tendering for 101,854 tons of food wheat from the U.S. and Canada.

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