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Wheat falls as corn, soybeans close mixed

Soybeans were mixed, ending the week mostly lower. Domestic crush demand is strong but beans drifted as bean meal fell from the highs and bean oil was modestly lower relative to the recent gains. Those losses in bean oil were a combination of profit taking and the speculation that Indonesia’s ban on palm oil exports will end in May. Past that – the trade continues to monitor global vegetable oil fundamentals, with the world’s top seller of sunflower oil, Ukraine, mostly out of the market following Russia’s invasion. More near-term planting delays are likely in the U.S. According to reports, Brazilian farm group SLC Agricola SA is expected to reduce fertilizer use by 20% to 25% due to a shortage of supplies. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange says 46.4% of Argentina’s soybean crop is harvested, with 16% in good to excellent condition. China says it will auction 500,000 tons of previously imported soybeans from state reserves on May 6th.

Corn was mixed, establishing new highs early in the session, but closing out the week mixed as well. Corn was also watching those planting delays, with activity expected to remain much slower than average in Monday’s update, out at 4 Eastern/3 Central. Domestic demand is strong but being hampered by backlogs for rail transportation. Export demand has picked up steam, especially from China, because of Ukraine’s near-total absence from the market. Near-term forecasts for central Brazil show continued dry weather, causing more stress to the critical second crop. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange says 24.6% of Argentina’s corn crop is harvested, with 19% rated good to excellent.

The wheat complex was sharply lower on fund and technical selling, pulling the most active contracts lower for the week. Rain was in the forecast for parts of the southern U.S. Plains, but it was expected to miss the driest areas. More spring wheat planting delays are likely in the northern U.S. Plains and parts of the eastern Midwest are excessively wet. For now, those weather concerns are canceled out by the bearish demand outlook as U.S. wheat remains high priced compared to many key export competitors. The trade is also monitoring the impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine’s Ag Ministry says planting is complete in six of the nation’s 24 growing regions, with planted area expected to be well below a year ago. The European Union has its lowered 2022/23 wheat production projection to 130.1 million tons, 1.2 million less than the last guess, but slightly above 2021/22.

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