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The hour hand on the clock is ticking closer to March which means weather and planting intentions will gain greater prominence in the weeks ahead. In the Ag Outlook Forum, the USDA projects producers planting 92.0 million acres of corn, an increase of 1.2 million from a year ago. However, this is not carved in stone as weather will be a big factor influencing producers’ decisions. As far as the long-range forecast for March-May, warmer temperatures are expected with above normal precipitation in the east, and normal to below rainfall in the west. Traders can make what they want out of that forecast. Looking at exports, inspections were down this week at 48.4 MB. For the first time in 14 weeks, the pace of shipments fell. Meanwhile, the bulls will hold the upper hand into planting.
Soybean demand from China has been talked to death in ag circles for the past few months, and its allure may be starting to wear off. However, prices remain underpinned from tight stocks, harvest delays in Brazil, and uncertainty of the growing season that lies ahead. As of last week, Brazil’s harvest was 15 percent done compared to 31 percent a year ago. According to the USDA, producers will plant 90.0 million acres of soybeans this year, an increase of 6.9 million from a year ago. Keep in mind that this will be subject to change because of weather and whether there is an early start in corn planting. Looking at exports, inspections set a marketing year low for the second straight week at 26.5 MB. This was largely because of the Lunar New Year celebrated in China. Since peaking last November, the overall pace of shipments is down 50 percent. Meanwhile, shipments to China are down 63.0 percent. This will likely deteriorate further as Brazil’s crop becomes more available for export.
There is not a lot of fresh news in wheat with it following the direction of corn and soybeans. Moisture received from the recent winter storm should help improve crop conditions. Export inspections last week were anemic at 11.9 MB. After improving for four weeks, the pace of shipments saw a downtick last week.
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