WASDE give soybeans a short-lived boost

Afternoon report: Corn and wheat prices finish Wednesday’s session in the red.

March 8, 2023

6 Min Read
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Grain prices were mixed but mostly lower following USDA’s latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, despite serving up a few bullish numbers for traders to digest. Soybeans were up nearly 1% late this morning but ultimately only kept gains of around 0.1% by the close. Corn prices tested modest gains but were unable to hold onto them. Wheat prices saw variable losses, with some contracts down as much as 1.5% today.

Nearly all of the Midwest and Plains will see at least some measurable rain and/or snow fall between Thursday and Sunday, per the latest 72-hour cumulative precipitation map from NOAA. Portions of the Mid-South, Iowa and southern Minnesota are likely to gather the largest totals during this time. NOAA’s new 8-to-14-day outlook predicts more seasonally wet weather for the Corn Belt between March 15 and March 21, with widespread colder-than-normal conditions also likely later this month.

On Wall St., the Dow dipped another 138 points lower in afternoon trading to 32,717 on lingering concerns that interest rates will see more hikes later this year. Energy futures also eroded lower today, with crude oil down 1.25% this afternoon to $76 per barrel. Diesel dropped 2%, while gasoline faced cuts of around 0.5%. The U.S. Dollar firmed slightly.

On Tuesday, commodity funds were net buyers of CBOT wheat (+3,000) contracts but were net sellers of corn (-2,000), soybeans (-6,500), soymeal (-1,500) and soyoil (-6,500).


Corn prices tested but failed to hold onto modest gains on Wednesday after traders returned to a pattern of technical selling that led to moderate cuts by the close. March futures dropped 7.25 cents to $6.3475, with May futures down 8 cents to $6.2625.

Corn basis bids were steady to mixed on Wednesday after trending as much as 3 cents lower at an Iowa processor and as much as 10 cents higher at an Indiana ethanol plant today.

In today’s WASDE report, USDA finally admitted that corn exports may not be able to match the agency’s prior projections. The latest export estimates are down 75 million bushels. USDA did not make any other usage changes, so ending stocks moved 75 million bushels higher this month to 1.342 billion bushels. That was well above the average trade guess of 1.308 billion bushels.

On the more bullish side of the ledger, USDA reported that U.S. farmers only harvested 79.2 million acres of corn last season. Assuming average yields of 173.3 bushels per acre, that only led to a total production of 13.73 billion bushels. (For more perspective, most analysts are predicting a production somewhere north of 15 million bushels this year.)

Ethanol production for the week ending March 3 improved slightly from the prior week, with a daily average of 1.010 million barrels, per the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, out earlier today. That also marked the eighth consecutive week that production stayed above the 1-million-barrel-per-day benchmark. Stocks trended 2% higher.

Ahead of Thursday morning’s export report from USDA, analysts expect the agency to show corn sales ranging between 23.6 million and 55.1 million bushels for the week ending March 2.

Grain traveling the nation’s railways added another 20,522 carloads last week. That brings cumulative totals for 2023 to 203,305 carloads, which is a decline of 5.2% from last year’s pace so far.

Two South Korean feed buyers purchased a total of 7.3 million bushels of animal feed corn from optional origins (with at least some expected to be sourced from South America) in international tenders that closed earlier today. The grain is for arrival in July.

Taiwan purchased 2.0 million bushels of animal feed corn, likely sourced from South Africa, in an international tender that closed earlier today. The grain is for shipment in May.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 333,986 contracts, which was well above Tuesday’s final count of 194,152.


Soybean prices were on pace for double-digit gains until a late-session selloff erased most of them. Prices still managed to make modest improvements, however, with March futures picking up 1.5 cents to $15.2675 and May futures adding 2.75 cents to $15.1825.

The rest of the soy complex was mixed. Soymeal prices fell around 0.75% lower, while soyoil prices improved by a similar percentage.

Soybean basis bids were steady to weak across the central U.S. after spilling 5 cents lower at an Illinois river terminal and easing a penny lower at an Ohio elevator on Wednesday.

USDA’s new outlook for soybeans included a better-than-expected export outlook after raising it by 25 million bushels to 2.02 billion based on the pace of shipments through February. Soybean crush eased slightly lower, but ending stocks still slid another 15 million bushels to 210 million. If that volume holds, it will be the lowest total in seven years. Soyoil exports were more problematic, in contrast, shifting another 200 million pounds lower to a historically low level of 500 million pounds.

Prior to the next export report from USDA, out tomorrow morning, analysts think the agency will show soybean sales ranging between 7.3 million and 34.9 million bushels for the week ending March 2. Analysts also expect to see soymeal sales ranging between 100,000 and 375,000 metric tons, plus up to 20,000 MT of soyoil sales.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 187,191 contracts, moving moderately above Tuesday’s final count of 163,004.


Wheat prices suffered another moderate technical setback after an ample round of technical selling on Tuesday that left some contracts with losses of up to 1.5%. May Chicago SRW futures fell 10.5 cents to $6.8750, May Kansas City HRW futures eased 0.25 cents lower to $7.99, and May MGEX spring wheat futures dropped 10.5 cents to $8.4225.

USDA’s latest analysis for wheat didn’t have much to report domestically. In fact, the entirety of this section simply read: “The 2022/23 U.S. wheat supply and demand outlook is unchanged from last month. The projected season-average farm price remains $9.00 per bushel.” That leaves U.S. ending stocks at 568 million bushels, which was modestly below the average trade guess of 573 million bushels.

Ahead of Thursday morning’s export report from USDA, analysts expect the agency to show wheat sales ranging between 5.5 million and 22.0 million bushels for the week ending March 2.

Tunisia purchased 3.7 million bushels of durum wheat from optional origins in an international tender that closed earlier today. The grain is for shipment beginning in April.

Jordan issued a new international tender to purchase 4.4 million bushels of milling wheat from optional origins that closes on March 14. The grain is for shipment starting in August.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 99,449 CBOT contracts, which was moderately above Tuesday’s final count of 76,733.

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