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The grains have little to hang their hat on news wise with prices mostly responding to quirks and turns in the outside and financial markets. Volatility will likely remain subdued until we are closer to the Planting Intentions Report in late March. The good news in corn is that export inspections last week were a marketing year high at 35.4 MB. However, the bad news is that we have to ship 40.6 MB each week to reach USDA’s projection of 1.650 BB. While the pace of shipments has improved modestly over the past five weeks, achieving their target will be an uphill struggle. In other developments, the funds have added 165 MB to their shorts increasing them to 945 MB. USDA Ag Forum put corn acres at 90.0 million, up 2.0 million. For the time being, the bulls will have to bide their time until the growing season begins before finding news of encouragement.
Soybeans are meeting a strong headwind from the reality of a record harvest in South America. Last week, there were 163 vessels waiting in Brazilian ports to load 7.5 million tons of soybeans. A year ago, there were 66 vessels in the lineup. Export inspections totaled 56.2 MB with China taking 33.6 MB or 59 percent of shipments. For the second consecutive week, there has been a slight uptick in the pace of shipments. In other developments, the funds lightened 125 MB from their short position last week reducing it to 105 MB. The USDA Ag Forum put soybean acres at 82.5 million, down 200,000 from a year ago. Like corn, positive news in soybeans will be sparse until the growing season begins and weather becomes a factor.
Rebounds in wheat continue to meet resistance because of abundant global supplies and tepid U.S. exports. Inspections last week were meager at 9.0 MB. Shipments must average 16.3 MB each week to reach USDA’s projection of 775 MB. Currently, they are on track for 710 MB. Last week, the funds were inactive, but did reduce their short position 5 MB to 600 MB. Although wheat will be breaking dormancy next month and susceptible to weather, it will likely follow the lead of corn and soybeans. The USDA Ag Forum put wheat acres at 51.0 million, down 3.6 million from a year ago.
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