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It is really kind of a sad morning when the biggest topic for market discussion is the weekly crop progress updates from the USDA. It is not that these do not contain valuable information, but by the first week of September in a rather uneventful growing season, little surprise either. The report did again remind us of how quickly the 2018 growing season is coming to a close as 75% of the corn has reached the dent stage, up 14% for the week and standing at 15% above the 5-year average. Corn mature has reached 22%, which is exactly twice average. Beans dropping leaves stood at 16% versus an average of 9%, and I have to imagine with the shorter days and rains we have been experiencing, this number will be increasing dramatically in the next week. I drove over 300 north and then back south over the past weekend and was surprised just much have changed over those few days.
While I do not know if Mexico was holding off on purchases until they have an idea of what a new NAFTA would look like, but it seems that have been active purchasers since an unofficial agreement was reached last week. This morning another sale of 101,736 MT of corn was announced for that nation. The U.S./Canadian negotiations continue in Washington but no word as to if an agreement is in sight.
The U.S. Census Bureau released export volume number for July this morning, and for corn and beans reflected solid year over year gains. Corn export volume was up 42.2%, and beans 47.8% and the largest gain was posted in bean meal, up 61.2%. In the negative column though, we find wheat, down 25.6%, bean oil down 12.1%, cotton minus 7.8% and ethanol down 11.8%. Focus will now likely shift to the production estimate coming up on the 12th.
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