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The Planting Intentions Report that will be released at the end of the week could be a game changer. However, keep in mind that the USDA survey was taken during the first week of March meaning producers can still make last minute changes in their plans. What the report will do is give us an idea of acreage and production prospects until the final acreage report is released in June. Meanwhile, looking at corn, export inspections last week were 26.2 MB following the marketing year high set the previous week. The pace of shipments has improved the past five weeks but must average 49.2 MB each week to reach USDA’s target of 1.850 BB. We have yet to see a shipment of that size and are running well below the pace needed to reach their projection. The bottom line is that this must improve for prices to move higher.
Soybeans have seen some life this week from lingering weather concerns in Argentina. They have received showers recently, but it is too late to help their drought-stricken crop. Meanwhile, harvest is progressing in Brazil at 70 percent complete with expectations for a record crop. This will be a sticking point for U.S. exports. Last week, inspections were above the previous week at 32.6 MB with China taking 18.6 MB. For the first time since early February, there has been an uptick in the pace of shipments. While the pace is down sharply from their peak in November, they are still on track to reach USDA’s target of 2.015 BB. However, global demand is down, and if there is a normal growing season, prices will face a headwind.
Wheat got a boost this week from reports that Cargill and Vitera will stop handling and loading grain from Russian export terminals. However, they will continue to ship from ports in the country. Either they think that the risk is too great for ocean vessels, or it could be a ploy by Russia to take greater control of their exports, as Cargil and Vitera are multinational companies. Last week, export inspections were up slightly at 14.4 MB. However, this is below the average of 14.7 MB that must be shipped on a weekly basis to reach USDA’s target of 775 MB. Right now, the pace is running slightly below the level needed.
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