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There is not much meat left on the bull’s carcass for the bears to pick as evident from the funds short corn position rising to 1.450 BB. The record is 1.670 BB. Meanwhile, the bulls have little incentive either as stocks are large while demand is diminished. Ethanol production is improving but additional positive input is needed for a sustained move in prices. Looking at exports, they are slow to improve. Inspections last week were 42.9 MB and must average 49.8 MB to reach USDA’s target of 1.775 BB. Currently, they are on track for 1.737 BB. In the meantime, planting is winding down at 88 percent complete compared to 82 percent a year ago. North Dakota is only 54 percent done, 15 percent below their average. The first crop rating of the season shows 70 percent of the crop in good to excellent condition. According to Ag Watch’s yield model, this translates to a national yield of 174.5 bpa compared to USDA’s current estimate of 178.5 bpa.
After a period of absence, China came back this week to purchase 264,000 tons of soybeans from the U.S. A 216,000 ton sale was made to an unknown destination that may be China. Most of their purchases recently have been from Brazil because of increased tensions with the U.S. over Hong Kong’s autonomy. Last week, export inspections were 12.2 MB and must average 27.5 MB each week to achieve USDA’s projection of 1.675 BB. Right now, they are on track for 1.482 BB. In other developments, planting is running ahead of speed at 65 percent complete versus the average of 55 percent.
Wheat is searching for a story but there is little to tell as the dollar remains in a broad trading range and harvest is just a few weeks away. Exports are nominal with inspections last week 16.8 MB. Last week, the rating for the winter wheat crop improved 2 points to 54 percent in good-to-excellent condition. Planting of the spring crop remains slow at 81 percent done versus 90 percent for the average.
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