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Solid exports keep corn, soybeans firm

Afternoon report: Wheat prices also trended higher in Tuesday’s session

Ben Potter

January 17, 2023

5 Min Read
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Grain prices moved higher on Tuesday, bolstered by spillover support from a broad range of other commodities and picking up additional steam on the heels of better-than-expected export inspections data from USDA this morning. Corn prices earned the biggest boost, rising more than 1.5% higher. Soybean gains were around 0.75%. Wheat prices experienced mild to moderate gains.

Plenty of rain and/or snow is coming to parts of the Central Plains, Midwest and Mid-South between Wednesday and Saturday, per the latest 72-hour cumulative precipitation map from NOAA. Large parts of the Dakotas and Minnesota will remain relatively dry during this time, in contrast. NOAA’s new 8-to-14-day outlook predicts near-normal precipitation for much of the Corn Belt between January 25 and January 31, meantime, with seasonally cold conditions likely for the central U.S. as the month draws to a close.

On Wall St., the Dow tumbled 341 points lower in afternoon trading to 33,960 on mixed bank sector earnings along with lingering concerns of a possible upcoming recession later this year. Energy futures were firm, with crude oil up 1.25% this afternoon to $80 per barrel. Gasoline gained nearly 1%, with diesel up 0.5%. The U.S. Dollar firmed slightly.

Last Friday, commodity funds were net buyers of corn (+2,000), soybeans (+4,000) and CBOT wheat (+1,000) contracts but were net sellers of soymeal (-3,000) and soyoil (-1,000).

Corn

Corn prices rose more than 1.5% higher on export optimism after USDA announced a flash sale to Colombia, and after the agency showed better-than-expected export inspections this morning. March futures rose 11.25 cents to $6.8625, with May futures up 10.25 cents to $6.84.

Corn basis bids were steady across most Midwestern locations on Tuesday but did slide 2 cents lower at an Iowa ethanol plant today.

Private exporters announced to USDA the sale of 5.9 million bushels for delivery to Colombia during the 2022/23 marketing year, which began September 1.

Corn export inspections came in better than expected for the week ending January 12, with a total of 30.5 million bushels. That was above the entire range of trade guesses, which were between 15.7 million and 27.6 million bushels. China was the No. 1 destination. Cumulative totals for the 2021/22 marketing year remain well below last year’s pace, however, with 424.2 million bushels.

European Union corn imports for the 2022/23 marketing year have jumped 88% above last year’s pace, with 616.5 million bushels through January 15. Ukraine, Brazil, Canada, Serbia and Russia were the top five suppliers.

Brazil’s Anec estimates that the country’s corn exports in January will reach 203.8 million bushels. That’s slightly above the group’s prior forecast made a week ago.

Egypt’s governmental grain buyer announced it will announce its first-ever corn tender on Thursday. The grain will be used as feed, and additional volume and shipping details were not immediately available.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 303,302 contracts, which inched 8% higher than Friday’s final count of 281,806.

Soybeans

Soybean prices moved moderately higher after export optimism spurred a round of technical buying on Tuesday. March futures rose 12 cents to $15.3975, with May futures up 9.75 cents to $15.37.

Soybean basis bids were steady to mixed on Tuesday after jumping 20 cents higher at a Nebraska processor while sliding 2 to 6 cents lower at two other Midwestern locations today.

Private exporters announced to USDA the sale of 4.4 million bushels of soybeans to unknown destinations for delivery during the 2022/23 marketing year, which began September 1.

Soybean export inspections for the week ending January 12 moved moderately higher week-over-week to 76.2 million bushels. That was also above the entire range of trade guesses, which came in between 33.1 million and 70.7 million bushels. China was by far the No. 1 destination, as it typically is. Cumulative totals for the 2022/23 marketing year are tracking slightly below last year’s pace so far, with 1.182 billion bushels.

The latest monthly report from the National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) showed a soybean crush that was toward the lower end of analyst estimates, with 177.505 million bushels in December. That’s lower than November’s total of 179.184 million bushels and year-ago results of 186.438 million bushels. Soyoil stocks through December 31 increased to 1.791 billion pounds.

European Union soybean imports during the 2022/23 marketing year have reached 219.4 million bushels through January 15, which is moderately below the prior year’s pace so far. EU canola imports are moderately higher year-over-year, in contrast, with 4.24 million metric tons during the same period.

Brazil’s Anec is forecasting the country’s soybean exports in January at 73.5 million bushels, which is slightly higher than the group’s prior estimate from a week ago. Anec also estimates that Brazilian soymeal exports will reach 1.587 million metric tons this month.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 206,677 contracts, which was slightly higher than Friday’s final count of 183,059.

Wheat

Wheat prices followed a broad set of other commodities higher on Tuesday, with mixed results. Some contracts moved more than 1% higher, while others were barely in the green. March Chicago SRW futures added 4.75 cents to $7.4850, March Kansas City HRW futures rose 9.75 cents to $8.5350, and March MGEX spring wheat futures picked up 0.25 cents to $9.1250.

Wheat export inspections reached 11.8 million bushels last week. That was toward the higher end of trade estimates, which ranged between 5.5 million and 14.7 million bushels. The Philippines topped all destinations, with 3.0 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2022/23 marketing year are still slightly behind last year’s pace, with 456.4 million bushels.

European Union soft wheat exports during the 2022/23 marketing year have reached 649.3 million bushels through January 15, a year-over-year increase of around 6% so far. Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia were the top five destinations.

Russian consultancy IKAR raised its forecast for the country’s 2022/23 wheat exports by 3.4% to 1.672 billion bushels. Russia is the world’s No. 1 wheat exporter.

The Philippines issued an international tender to purchase 6.1 million bushels of feed wheat and 45,000 metric tons of soymeal from optional origins that closes on Thursday. The grain is for shipment beginning in mid-April.

Japan issued a regular tender to purchase 2.9 million bushels of food-quality wheat from the United States and Canada that closes on Thursday. Of the total, 35% is expected to be sourced from the U.S. The grain is for shipment between late February and late March.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 78,067 CBOT contracts, which was slightly above Friday’s final count of 71,951.

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About the Author(s)

Ben Potter

Senior editor, Farm Futures

Senior Editor Ben Potter brings more than 14 years of professional agricultural communications and journalism experience to Farm Futures. He began working in the industry in the highly specific world of southern row crop production. Since that time, he has expanded his knowledge to cover a broad range of topics relevant to agriculture, including agronomy, machinery, technology, business, marketing, politics and weather. He has won several writing awards from the American Agricultural Editors Association, most recently on two features about drones and farmers who operate distilleries as a side business. Ben is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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