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While the grain markets were able to maintain strength into the close yesterday, beans faced up to a dose of reality and turned lower once again. It is not that beans were completely devoid of positive news as export inspections did come through at 24.95 million bushels versus expectations between 11 and 22 million but considering the fact this has also been trending lower, the impact was rather short-lived. We would seem to have reached the point that is a challenge to find anything positive for beans right now that has not already been factored into the price level. Possibly the March crush numbers that are to be released this afternoon will have something to lift the bulls spirts.
There were no surprises in the weekly planting/conditions update from the USDA. Corn progress increased 12% and now stands at 17% complete, which was maybe a bit stronger than the trade had anticipated. Still, this is 10% behind the average pace for this date. Of the top four producing states we find Iowa 10% behind average, Illinois 8% behind, Nebraska back 7% and Minnesota 26% behind average and showing zero corn in the ground. Corn emerged nationwide registered 3% versus an average 6%. Beans came in right at the historical norm though showing 5% planted. The only states that did not show any beans in the ground were Minnesota, Michigan and the two Dakotas. Spring wheat planting moved ahead by an estimate 7% but stands at 10% complete compared with the average of 36%. As you might suspect from the above-mentioned crop numbers, the largest delays are in the Northern Plains. The overall condition of the winter wheat crop did improve slightly though with the good/excellent categories improving 2% to 35% and poor/very poor remaining unchanged. In case you are curious, the planting pace for barely remains 18% behind normal and emergence 10% behind. First, the price of cocoa has gone wild forcing up the price of chocolate, now a potential issue with barely! All my vices could be higher priced this year.
In his weekly update, Dr. Cordonnier trimmed his Brazilian corn estimate 1 MMT taking it down to 86 MMT citing dry conditions and outlook for the central and southern regions of that nation. Keep in mind, this now 6 MMT below the most recent USDA estimate. Conversely, he bumped his bean estimate higher by 1 million placing it now at 116 MMT. He left both Argentine corn and bean estimates unchanged at 32 and 39 MMT respectively.
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