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This will have been a week of production estimates as in addition to the USDA numbers to be released later this morning; the Chinese Ag ministry has updated estimates for grain/soy production as has Brazil’s CONAB. South America first. CONAB now projects that the safrinha corn crop will total 62.94 MMT. This is down fractionally from their previous estimate and would be 4.44 MMT below last year. Total corn production is then estimated to be 89.2 MMT, versus last year at 97.84. Of course, it will be updated in a few hours, but currently, the USDA has total Brazilian production pegged at 92 MMT. Conversely, they have pushed their bean estimate higher by nearly 2 MMT and now project a total crop of 116.9 MMT. The existing USDA estimate stands at 115.
China is expecting acreage this year to be diverted from corn to beans in response to the tremendous demand. They project that total corn production will be down 210 MMT, off 2.9% from last year on 34.95 million hectares. In turn, they are expecting beans production to increase 4.9% over last year to a total of 15.27 MMT. Planting of 8.39 million hectares is expected. This nation continues to sell grain from inventories with far more success in corn than wheat. At auction this week they sold just 1,500 MT of wheat or .07% of what was made available. Interest in corn is a might better than this though as they sold 3.19 MMT or 81.7% of the total offered. I did not see what “vintage” was offered this week.
Giving us a little something extra to chew on prior to the May production and supply/demand estimates we have the weekly export sales but I see little to cheer about in the figures. For the week ending May 3rd, we sold 695,600 MT or 27.39 million bushels of corn. This figure was down 32% from last week and is 22% below the 4-week average and even below the lowest in the range of estimates; 750-1.4 MMT. Top sales went to Vietnam with 266.5k MT, followed by Japan at 186.2k and then Colombia at 124.4. Bean sales did not fare any better as we parted with a total of 354,300 MT or 13.02 million bushels. This figure was 15% below last week and 57% behind the 4-week average. The top sales went to Egypt with 90k MT, followed by the Netherlands at 85.1k and Taiwan with 69.9k. There were not any significant cancelations, and we did sell 278.3k MT for the 18/19 marketing year. Do not as well that meal sales for the week set a marketing year low but oil sales have been rebounding. Finally, over in the wheat, sales totaled just 35,200 MT or 1.29 million bushels. This was 85% below last week and 76% under the 4-week average. In fairness, we are winding down this crop year rapidly, but new crop sales did not look any better coming in at just 48.2k MT.
Technically, what should or could be the big numbers of the day are a couple of hours ahead of us and once again, here are the trade estimates. Domestic corn production for this year is expected to come in at 14.09 billion with a yield of 174.1 bpa. Bean production for this year is expected to be 4.279 billion from a yield of 48.8 bpa, and total wheat production is estimated to be 1.774 billion from a yield of 45.4. 2017/18 ending stocks are estimated to be 2.175 billion for corn, 541 million beans and 1.065 billion wheat. For 2018/19 these figures are expected to come in at 1.63 billion for corn, 535 million beans, and 931 million wheat. Brazilian crop number is expected to show 116.24 MT for beans and 88.86 MMT corn and Argentina at 38.86 MMT beans and 32.27 MMT corn.
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