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By Tori Uhland

March 22, 2024

In an otherwise quiet market, corn and soybeans found a boost last week thanks to some big rains in Argentina. “Big” may not be the right word choice, though and “excessive” may be more appropriate.

It’s been reported that the rains have flooded some soybean fields in Argentina. Harvest doesn’t generally get into full swing in the region until the last half of April. At this time, moisture could be beneficial for late soybean development, especially in double-crop areas, but the wettest areas are at risk for pod shattering and quality concerns. This ranks as the sixth wettest on record for this period in Argentina.

Dry conditions are expanding across the Brazil safrinha corn belt, but wetter conditions may be hurting the Argentine corn crop according to the Rosario Grain Exchange. The moisture in South America is positive for the markets in the short-term, but weather markets typically don’t extend very far. Rains are expected in the Midwest United States to help ease those deficits in our own corn belt.

On top of the weather, respectable export reports last week added some positivity to the corn and soybean markets. A flash sale of 120,000 tons of beans to unknown destinations was the first flash sale in three weeks. Export sales for soybeans came in within market expectations at 494 thousand tons but were the highest in eight weeks and considerably higher than a year ago. Corn sales also fell within market expectations at 1.186 million metric tons, (46.7 million bushels). Corn sales have been consistently averaging over 45.9 million bushels per week for the last four weeks.

Wheat export sales last week were net cancellations of 110 thousand tons after another 263 thousand tons of the previously announced Chinese cancellations were reflected in the data. New crop sales did come in at 286 thousand tons, which beat market expectations of 0-140 thousand tons. Wheat markets have also been boosted by geopolitical factors with recent escalations in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. There are still plentiful world supplies and an overall bearish tone to the market.

I feel like a bit of a broken record. Demand is still poor, supplies are still ample, and the market is still extremely quiet. A lot of the action in the futures market lately has been technical based with some corrections going on to the price. Overall things feel very lackluster, and range bound, and it will probably take some significant weather or geopolitical events to get much traction in either direction.

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