Grains

Grain prices this morning are weaker ahead of today's USDA WASDE report with May corn -0.50 (-0.13%), May soybeans -5.75 (-0.54%), May wheat -1.75 (-0.35%). Grains on Wednesday closed lower: May corn -1.00 (-0.26%), May soybeans -9.50 (-0.88%), May wheat -9.75 (-1.92%). Bearish factors included (1) concern a trade war with China will prompt China to boost its purchases of Brazilian soybeans at the expense of U.S. soybeans, (2) the forecast from World Weather that calls for increased snow and rain in the Great Plains for the second half of this month, and (3) foreign demand concerns for U.S. wheat as the export price of U.S. wheat has climbed to $40 a ton higher than Russian wheat. Bullish factors included (1) the +1.2% w/w increase in U.S ethanol output to 1.057 million bpd the week of Mar 2, a sign of stronger domestic corn demand, and (2) expectations that Thursday's monthly USDA WASDE report will show U.S. and global grain ending stocks tightened. Another positive for wheat is deterioration of the U.S. winter wheat crop after Monday's USDA data showed that 50% of the winter-wheat crop in Kansas, the biggest U.S. winter wheat producing state, was in poor or very poor condition as of Mar 4, up from 49% a week earlier. May soybeans rallied to a contract high last Thursday and nearest-futures (H18) rose to a 1-year high on concern that excessive dryness in Argentina, the world's largest soybean meal exporter, will damage its soybean crops after T-Storm Weather said the Dec to Feb period was the second-driest since 1980. The upside for wheat may be limited due to increased wheat exports from Russia, the world's biggest wheat exporter, that are up +43% y/y at 27.1 MMT from Jul 1-Feb 28. A negative for soybeans was the estimate by Agroconsult for Brazil's 2018 soybean crop to increase +2.5% y/y to a record 117.5 MMT. Strong Chinese soybean demand for U.S soybeans has been a major bullish factor for soybean prices as China 2017 soybean imports rose +13.9% y/y to a record 95.54 MMT, although recent data shows China Jan imports of U.S. soybeans fell -14.2% y/y to 5.816 MMT, while China Jan imports of Brazil soybeans surged +719.9% y/y to 2.074 MMT.