Corn closed 4-5 cents lower but off session lows. Funds were sellers of 8,000 contracts mid-day to add to their estimated short position of 92,000 contracts. The dollar is steady after trading sharply higher earlier in the day and the DOW is down 900+ points. (The dollar seemingly always catches support on world uneasiness, which is unhelpful to our export markets.) Corn was already under pressure from USDA’s Ag Forum 20/21ending stocks of 2.6 bln. bu. and Trump’s tweet regarding the possibility of additional MFP payments, so today’s selling pressure was exacerbated by reports over the weekend that Coronavirus has yet to be contained and a pandemic is possible. Additional infections found in S. Korea, Italy, and Iran. The impact on world economies is unknown and may have more influence on ag commodities than needed, but the markets want to trade together. U.S. weekly export inspections were 35.9 mln. bu. and bring YTD inspections to 521 mln. bu. vs. 982 mln. bu. last year. We need to average 43 mln. bu. a week to meet USDA export objectives.
Soybeans closed 15-16 cents lower today as funds were active sellers of 15,000 contracts by mid-session to add to their estimated short position of 95,000 contracts. Futures did rally off session lows, but the market is mostly negative on Coronavirus, lack of Chinese buying of U.S. soybeans, and very limited concern over S. American weather. Brazil is thought to be 34% harvested, close to average, but behind last year’s pace of 46%. It is also estimated that Brazil has already sold 15.4 MMT of bean exports (12.9 MMT LY,) or 20% of projected annual exports – China has been buying Brazilian beans! Brazil fob offerings are 20+ cents cheaper than Gulf offerings in March. U.S. weekly export inspections came in at 21.8 mln. bu. and bring YTD inspections to 1,061 mln. bu. vs. 923 mln. bu. last year. Weekly inspections need to average 27 mln. bu. to reach USDA projections. The U.S. did sell Mexico 163 tmt of soybeans for 19/20.
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