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Afternoon Market Recap for April 18, 2019

Thursday sees a drama-free session.

NOTE: Ag commodity markets are closed today, so this commentary will not update. Afternoon Market Recap will return Monday, April 22. Thanks for reading.

Corn and soybean prices tick slightly higher, with wheat taking small losses

With a lot of political theater playing out Thursday in Washington, D.C., following the release of Special Council Robert Mueller’s much-anticipated (and redacted) report, grain markets spent a relatively drama-free session today, with some light technical maneuvering driving grain prices to narrowly mixed results. Corn and soybeans firmed slightly, with wheat prices in slight decline.

NOAA released its seasonal outlook covering May through July earlier today. The agency expects near-normal to slightly below temperatures throughout most of the Plains during this time, with above-average temperatures more likely in the eastern third and western third of the country. Most of the country could see wetter-than-normal conditions over the next three months, too.

On Wall St., another round of positive corporate earnings reports had the Dow up another 107 points in afternoon trading to 26,557. Energy futures were mixed Thursday, with crude oil and diesel down fractionally, while gasoline moved another 1% higher on some reports of falling stocks. The U.S. Dollar moved moderately higher.

Grain markets will be closed tomorrow in observance of Good Friday. Farm Futures will resume its morning and afternoon newsletters next Monday, April 22. See you then!

Corn prices firmed fractionally Thursday on some light technical buying and position squaring ahead of the three-day weekend, with May futures and July futures up just a quarter-cent to $3.5850 and $3.6725, respectively.

Corn basis bids were largely steady Thursday but did move 1 to 2 cents higher across several Midwestern locations today amid generally slow farmer sales.

Corn exports found 37.3 million bushels in old crop sales last week, plus another 700,000 bushels in new crop sales for a total of 38.0 million bushels. That was much improved over the prior week’s tally of 21.6 million bushels and ahead of the average trade guess of 28.5 million bushels.

Corn export shipments were for 39.7 million bushels last week. For the 2018/19 marketing year, Mexico leads all destinations after accounting for 32% of the total.

EPA reports that the U.S. generated 1.21 billion ethanol blending credits in March, up slightly from 1.15 billion in February.

A World Trade Organization dispute settlement panel found that China has administered its tariff-rate quotas for wheat, corn, and rice inconsistently with its WTO commitments. USDA estimates that if China’s TRQs had been fully used, it would have imported as much as $3.5 billion worth of corn, wheat and rice in 2015 alone. Click here to learn more.

Argentina’s government expects the country’s 2018/19 corn production to surpass last year’s drought-stressed crop by 26%, reaching an estimated 2.165 billion bushels.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 171,700 contracts, which was approximately half of Wednesday’s final count of 340,507.

Soybean prices firmed slightly Thursday on a small technical bounce after nearly falling double digits yesterday. May futures added 1.5 cents to $8.8050, with July futures up 1.75 cents to $8.9425.

Soybean basis bids were mostly steady Thursday, moving 1 to 3 cents higher at two Midwestern locations today.

U.S. soybean exports found 14.0 million bushels in old crop sales plus another 800,000 bushels in new crop sales for the week ending April 11. That tally of 14.8 million bushels was better than the prior week’s 10.3 million bushels but still below trade estimates of 22.1 million bushels.

Soybean export shipments last week reached 36.0 million bushels. For the 2018/19 marketing year, China still leads all destinations for U.S. soybean export commitments, accounting for 29% of the total.

EPA reports that the U.S. generated 328 million biodiesel blending credits in March, up around 12% from February’s total of 293 million.

Argentina’s government expects the country’s 2018/19 soybean harvest to climb nearly 50% higher year-over-year to reach 2.054 billion bushels, with the latest estimates from the Buenos Aires grains exchange slightly coming in slightly lower than that tally.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 113,160 contracts, falling significantly below Wednesday’s final count of 207,170.

Wheat prices continue to feel downward pressure from large domestic and global stocks, incurring another round of small losses Thursday. May Chicago SRW futures fell 2.75 cents to $4.4425, May Kansas City HRW futures eased 0.5 cents to $4.20, and May MGEX spring wheat futures dropped 4.25 cents to $5.22.

Wheat exports landed 11.7 million bushels in old crop sales last week, plus another 8.4 million bushels in new crop sales, for a total of 20.0 million bushels. That was a slight improvement over the prior week’s tally of 17.4 million bushels and slightly ahead of the average trade guess of 19.3 million bushels.

Wheat export shipments reached 15.8 million bushels last week. Mexico and the Philippines are the top two destinations for U.S. wheat export commitments in 2018/19, accounting for 12% of the total each.

Wet weather continues to steadily erase drought across the country, with just 14.1% of the nation experiencing those conditions as of April 16, according to the latest updates from the U.S. Drought Monitor – making it the smallest such footprint since this data set began to be collected 19 years ago.

Egypt has purchased 14.2 million bushels of wheat domestically so far this season. The country hopes to procure a total of around 132 million bushels of local wheat.

The Philippines purchased 2.0 million bushels of feed wheat in a tender that was originally for up to 8.1 million bushels, which closed Wednesday. The grain’s origin is not known at this time.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 90,075 CBOT contracts, sliding moderately below Wednesday’s final count of 142,549.

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