Corn futures were slightly firmer today. A lack of fresh news combined with mostly favorable weather conditions across the Midwest through the middle of the week, which should allow for harvest progress to proceed, hangs over the market. A short-term December corn top and resistance sits at $3.78 ½, the Oct. 15th high. On the downside, the 20-day moving average stands as support ($3.67). NASS will release updated U.S. harvest progress this afternoon. The trade is expecting to see U.S. corn harvest near 51% complete compared to 38% last week and a 47% average. Traders will be paying particular interest to the progress made in the west as those states have been lagging this fall. Weekly U.S. corn export inspections were at the lower end of expectations this morning at 37.4 mln. bu. That was down slightly from the previous week but solidly above last year's same-week exports of 25 mln. bu. Cumulative exports continue to run strongly above last year, reflecting a 72% year-over-year increase. However, corn exports will need to average roughly 45.6 mln. bu./week through the end of the marketing year to reach USDA's 2.475 bln. bu. export projection. In South America, weather conditions in Brazil have allowed their first crop corn planting to clip along. It is forecast to be 48% complete, which is just ahead of normal.
Soybean futures also closed marginally higher. The short-term bean trend appears to be weakening. The 20-day moving average now sits as resistance at $8.61 ¾, with support at $8.47, the Oct. 11th low. Futures have come under recent pressure from mostly favorable weather, lackluster U.S. exports and talk that U.S./China trade negotiations have stalled. Weather conditions for the central/eastern parts of Corn Belt should allow for harvest activity to progress this week. However, wetter weather across the Great Plains looks like it will creep into IA & MN, slowing harvest progress there. This afternoon will bring updated harvest progress numbers. Traders expect to see U.S. soybean harvest near 52% complete vs. 38% a week ago and a 68% average. In South America, Brazilian soybean planting is said to be 34% complete. That is the fastest pace ever and compares to 20% a year ago. Mato Grosso is forecast to be 60% planted and Parana at 48%. Weekly U.S. soybean export inspections came in near the upper end of market expectations this morning at 42.2 mln. bu. However, this was less than ½ of last year’s same-week exports. This week's activity included shipments to Argentina but none to China. Not surprisingly, from January through August, 70% of China’s bean purchases have come from Brazil.
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