Corn futures ended the session slightly higher after a quiet day. Fresh news remains thin. The forecast for the U.S. Corn and Bean belt continues to look good for planting activity through mid-next week, when widespread rains are expected for most areas. Weather maps indicate that central Illinois will have close to a 7 day window to get crops in the ground. In yesterday’s weekly Crop Progress Report NASS reported 5% of the U.S. corn crop had been planted vs. 3% last week, 15% last year, and a 14% average. (IL corn was 4% planted, MO was at 16%, IN was at 1% and IA did not register any progress). The Illinois Crop Progress report also included data on subsoil moisture supply, which was rated 82% adequate and 11% in surplus. A section on weather information also showed temperatures ran 10.9 degrees F below normal last week. Weather concerns are picking up in Brazil with dry conditions forecast into the first week of May for the central region. Yield potential for the country's 2nd corn crop would be threatened by an early end to the rainy season. Growers in the south are already suffering from the same drought conditions that have plagued Argentine producers and grain regions in the North are running short relative to normal moisture.
Soybeans traded both sides of unchanged today, ultimately ending the session mixed. Monday’s weekly Crop Progress Report showed 2% of the U.S. soybean crop had been planted compared to 5% last year and a 2% average. This morning, USDA announced a sale of 130,000 tons of U.S. beans to Argentina. (60,000 tons for 17/18 and 70,000 tons for 18/19). China's imports of U.S. soybeans fell 27% in March compared with the same month a year ago, while imports from Brazil jumped by 1/3rd. Producers in Brazil are wrapping up their 17/18 bean harvest with relatively strong prices. Values have strengthened in recent weeks due to Argentina’s drought, an impending trade dispute between China and the U.S., and weaker Brazilian currency due primarily to political instability there. Competition between exporters and crushers has resulted in premiums at some Brazilian ports of up to $1.90 above the CBOT. At this point, Brazil's 17/18 bean production is expected to be a new record, in the range of 115 to 116 MMT’s, and they are expected to export 70 to 71 MMT’s & crush 43 to 44 MMT’s. If these estimates prove true, Brazilian soybean carryout will be relatively small by the time the 18/19 crop is harvested.
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