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Afternoon Market Recap for March 22, 2019

China purchase sustains corn streak.

Soybeans and wheat finish Friday’s session with moderate losses, however

Friday’s session featured mixed performances for grain prices. Corn was the day’s clear winner, rising more than 0.5% on the heels of a large China purchase announced this morning. But soybeans and wheat slipped lower today, as general worries over large supplies and low exports persist.

Temperatures across the central U.S. are expected to wobble between slightly above normal and slightly below normal for the next several days. And the latest cumulative 72-hour precipitation map from NOAA shows much of the Midwest and Plains picking up another 0.5” to 1” of rainfall between today and March 25.

The latest bout of flooding across large portions of the Midwest and Plains have already cost life, livestock and infrastructure damage. Now, experts are worried about another victim – stored grain in the affected areas. Click here for more information about developing an action plan for your damaged grain.

On Wall St., concerns that the global economy is slowing sent the Dow sharply lower Friday, falling 306 points in afternoon trading to 25,655. Energy prices reversed lower this afternoon, with crude oil down nearly 2% on demand worries, with diesel down a similar amount. The U.S. Dollar firmed slightly.

Corn prices firmed by more than 0.5% Friday, anchored by a large China purchase announced this morning and worries over possible planting delays in waterlogged parts of the Plains and Midwest. May and July futures each picked up 2 cents to close at $3.7825 and $3.8750, respectively.

May futures concluded today’s session with a second-straight week of gains, firming another 1.3% this week.

Corn basis bids were down 1 to 2 cents at several Midwestern ethanol plants but firmed 1 to 5 cents across multiple other locations today.

Private exporters reported to USDA the sale of 11.8 million bushels of corn for delivery to China during the 2018/19 marketing year, which began September 1. It was the country’s largest purchase of U.S. corn since October 2013.

After planting more soybeans than corn in 2018 for the first time in 35 years, farmers want to return to more normal rotations this spring, according to Farm Futures latest survey of growers. Our survey of nearly 1,000 producers nationwide put corn acreage at 90.9 million, up 1.725 million from last year. Click here to read more insights from our exclusive survey.

Flooding in the Midwest and Plains is thought to have halted around 13% of the nation’s ethanol production capacity, with plants in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota scaling back or even shuttering operations for the time being. Rail transportation is also experiencing major disruptions at this time.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 426,689 contracts, trending significantly higher than Thursday’s final count of 173,690.

Soybean prices moved around 0.7% lower Friday on some technical selling as traders continue to fret over large U.S. stockpiles and relatively sluggish export sales. May futures dropped 6.75 cents to $9.0375, with July futures down 7 cents to $9.1725.

For the week, May futures slid 0.6% lower and has now fallen three of the last four weeks.

Soybean basis bids were steady to weak Friday, dropping 2 to 5 cents lower across several Midwestern locations today.

Low prices and uncertainty over a trade deal with China convinced farmers to slash soybean seedings this spring to 85.9 million, according to an exclusive Farm Futures survey. That would be down 3.3 million (or 3.7%) from 2018 totals but would be higher than the 85 million USDA forecast recently.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 149,059 contracts, moving ahead of Thursday’s final count of 114,570.

Wheat prices declined slightly on some technical selling Friday, unable to shake ongoing concerns over large domestic stockpiles and a sluggish export pace. May Chicago SRW futures dipped 0.5 cents to $4.66 and May Kansas City HRW futures lost 2.5 cents to $4.4450, while May MGEX spring wheat futures firmed another penny to reach $5.7125.

May CBOT futures still ended the week 0.8% higher, posting a second-consecutive week of gains after plummeting the previous five straight weeks.

A Farm Futures survey released this morning indicates U.S. all-wheat acreage will land at 45.9 million acres, down 2.4 million acres (5.1%) from a year ago and dropping to the lowest total since at least 1919.

French consultancy FranceAgriMer reports that 85% of the country’s soft wheat crop is in good-to-excellent condition as of March 18, unchanged from the prior week.

Taiwan purchased 4.0 million bushels of milling wheat from the U.S. in an international tender that closed earlier today.

South Korea purchased 2.4 million bushels of feed wheat from optional origins in a private deal that closed earlier today. In a separate international tender, the country purchased an additional 2.2 million bushels of feed wheat Friday, likely sourced from the Black Sea region.

The Philippines issued an international tender for up to 2.2 million bushels of milling and feed wheat but made no purchases, citing too-high prices.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 100,028 CBOT contracts, up slightly from Thursday’s final count of 93,571.

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