Corn futures closed 14 cents higher in old crop and 9-12 cents higher in new crop. CN gained 21 cents for the week and closed above $4, the first time since last May when the “great unpleasantness” of U.S./China trade issues surfaced. Funds were buyers of 7,000 contracts mid-session and held an estimated short position of 149,000 this morning. Producer selling interest picked up noticeably this week, though it was not as heavy today as a 14-cent rally would suggest. Wet weather slowing planting progress and uncertainty over gov’t assistance programs are at the forefront of the market. Prevent Plant and the MFP payments give producers plenty to consider. MFP seems to be set up to incentivize farmers to plant and not take prevent plant, while also not causing a shift in acres to take advantage of the programs. One rumor today had the prevent plant percentage increasing from 55% to 70%+ while at the same time there are suggestions 15% of corn acres will move to beans and we’ll lose 2.25 bln. bu. of corn production. Weather forecasts the next 5-7 days as well as longer term models remain wet in most of the eastern corn belt and don’t paint a good picture for planting. Producers are still expected to try and plant corn as long as possible though. SX/CZ ratio at 2.04. The market is trying to balance all of these storylines and volatility is increasing. Lost in the shuffle today was a sale of 113 tmt of corn to Mexico for 18/19.
Soybeans closed 8 cents higher in both old crop and new crop with SN gaining 8 cents this week. Funds were buyers of 3,000 contracts mid-session and held an estimated short position of 166,000 contracts this morning. Traders are caught between fears more acres switch to beans from corn (one group estimates an additional 575 mln. bu. of production) and ideas soybeans don’t get planted either. Also in the mix is what happens if a “deal” actually takes place with China? The 1 bln. bu. 18/19 carryout is a buffer in the marketplace against all of these storylines. Most of the excitement this week was in corn and wheat with beans a follower for a change. As a result, producer selling was light compared to corn during the week.
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