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The planters have sprung from the starting gate which means the race is on. In their first weekly progress report of the season, USDA shows that 2 percent of the corn crop is planted which is on par with the average. Weather through the third week of April shows normal to below normal rainfall which means producers will plant corn for as long as seed is available. That said, chances are acres will exceed USDA’s current estimate of 91.1 million. In other developments, exports continue to impress. Inspections last week were the second highest of the season at 75.2 million. China was the largest recipient followed by Mexico and Japan. Traders remain bullish on exports but, eventually, they will peak.
Soybeans have run into resistance recently, but that has not deterred the bulls as stocks are the tightest since 2013. Meanwhile, exports continue to decline with inspections last week setting their fourth consecutive marketing year low at 10.9 MB. This was the first time this season that inspections fell below the average needed to reach USDA’s target of 2.2250 BB. We are still on track to reach their projection, but just barely. Meanwhile, overall shipments are down 81 percent from their peak in November while those to China are down 88 percent. Looking at Brazil, their harvest is 88 percent complete and on track for a record crop.
Wheat is the most boring of the grains. While it has emerged from dormancy, it still has no story to tell. In USDA’s first progress report, they rate 53 percent of the winter wheat crop in good-to-excellent condition compared to 62 percent a year ago. Meanwhile, spring wheat planting is just getting underway at 3 percent complete compared to the average of 2 percent. In other developments, export inspections last week were 21.8 MB. Since late February, the pace has been improving. However, it faces plenty of competition as a tender from Egypt was awarded to Russia and Ukraine.
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