Corn 1 to 2 lower
Soybeans 1 to 3 higher
Grain futures are mixed this morning, with only soybeans attracting some short covering and bargain hunting ahead of Friday’s USDA supply and demand report for March. While those numbers aren’t expected to generate a lot of heat, export sales data due out at 7:30 a.m. CST should be closely parsed for clues about Chinese buying. Export sales this morning are expected to top 40 million bushels for last week, well above the rate needed through August to reach USDA’s forecast for record shipments. Usage for ethanol is another matter. Production of the biofuel eased last week and stocks swelled near record levels. Estimated corn usage is running more than 3% behind last year, which could convince USDA to raise its forecast for ending stocks tomorrow by 15 million bushels or so.
Rising Chinese purchases and strong crush could knock up to 40 million bushels off carryout when USDA updates its Soybean forecast Friday. Export sales last week are expected to run be down from the big numbers of the prior week but still run close to the 35 million bushels needed through August to reach USDA’s forecast for the marketing year. Close attention will be paid to Chinese buying, with other customers likely attracted by cheaper beans out of Brazil.
The March dollar index is trading 3 points higher this morning at around 96.83. This morning the April crude oil contract is trading around $0.50 higher.
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