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The grains have been caught in a whirlwind this week from news that a shipment of corn left the port of Odessa in Ukraine bound for Lebanon. This was their first shipment since the war with Russia began in February. If you recall, an agreement between them was signed a couple of weeks ago that would allow shipments of Ukrainian grain out of the Black Sea Region. However, this agreement is going to be a rocky marriage, at best, with possibly a short honeymoon. In other matters, the corn rating stabilized at 61 percent in good-to-excellent condition and is just below the 10-year average of 63 percent. According to Ag Watch’s yield model, the national yield is 173.5 bpa versus USDA’s estimate of 177.0 bpa. Export inspections rebounded last week to 33.7 MB but are still running short of the pace needed to reach USDA’s target of 2.450 BB.
Soybeans struggled until mid-week but came to life Thursday following a 9 percent 3-day decline. Last week, the crop rating improved one-point to 60 percent in good-to-excellent condition which was contrary to expectations. This is slightly below the 10-year average of 61 percent. According to Ag Watch’s yield model, the national yield is 51.5 bpa which is on par with USDA’s target. Looking at exports, inspections were up last week at 20.3 MB. However, unless the pace improves, it will be difficult to reach USDA’s target of 2.170 BB. China took 4.8 MB last week but has been a minor player the past several weeks as they are securing their needs through Brazil. Meanwhile, Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has increased tensions between the U.S. and China that could cause some ripples for ag. The bottom line in soybeans is that once weather loses its grasp as a factor, the spark may be lacking to stimulate bullish interest.
Wheat held its own considering the weakness in corn and soybeans earlier this week. Winter wheat harvest is winding down at 82 percent complete compared to the average of 85 percent. There was an improvement in the spring crop as it rose 2-points last week to 70 percent in good-to-excellent condition. After a marketing year high a couple of weeks ago, export inspections last week fell to 9.4 MB. They must average 16.1 MB each week to reach USDA’s projection of 800 MB. Currently, the U.S. faces intense competition on the global market, and that is unlikely to change. Adding to the competition is that Brazil is expected to produce a record crop this year.
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