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Soybeans were higher on short covering and technical buying. Traders squared up positions ahead of Friday’s USDA supply and demand estimates. The USDA is expected to lower its crop guess for Brazil, the question is by how much. This set of numbers was crunched before the harvest hit the halfway mark, so unless the USDA tries to match last month’s deep cut by CONAB, it could be another conservative, and potentially controversial, reduction. CONAB’s updated outlook for Brazil is out March 12th. Argentina’s soybean crop estimate is expected to be slightly higher, while U.S. ending stocks will likely be above a month ago. U.S. soybean export sales were quite a bit larger than the previous week, but still disappointing in the grand scheme on things due to aggressive shipments out of Brazil. Brazil’s Ag Ministry says February soybean exports were 6.61 million tons, compared to just over 5 million a year ago. ANEC projects March at 12.81 million tons, compared to 14.44 million in March 2023. China’s General Administration of Customs says January/February soybean imports were the lowest in five years due to bearish crush margins and Lunar New Year celebrations. Last week’s big buyers were China and Germany, with a cancelation by unknown destinations. The trade is also keeping an eye on U.S. conditions ahead of spring planting. The USDA’s Prospective Planting report is out on the 28th, along with the quarterly grain stocks numbers. Soybean meal and oil were up, following the lead of beans.

March 7, 2024


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