CHICAGO: US soybean futures rose 2.1% on Friday, climbing back above $15 a bushel for the first time since mid-March after the US Department of Agriculture’s forecast for 2023 plantings and its March 1 soy stockpiles estimate both came in at the low end of trade expectations.
Corn futures ended mixed, with nearby contracts rising on bullish US March 1 stocks data, while deferred contracts fell on a larger-than-expected USDA plantings forecast. Chicago Board of Trade May soybeans settled up 31 cents at $15.05-1/2 per bushel after reaching $15.13-3/4, the contract’s highest since March 13.
CBOT May corn ended up 11 cents at $6.60-1/2 a bushel while new-crop December corn finished down 1/2 cent at $5.66-1/2. CBOT May wheat settled unchanged on the day at $6.92-1/4 a bushel, anchored by a larger-than-expected USDA wheat acreage figure.
Soybean futures rose after the government projected 2023 plantings of the oilseed at 87.5 million acres, up only slightly from 2022 and near the low end of estimates in a Reuters poll of analysts. The USDA also reported March 1 soy stocks at 1.685 billion bushels, down 13% from a year ago.
“What really sticks out is that the soybean stocks are at the low end of trade expectations. That … seems to indicate that we could see some price rationing,” said Karl Setzer, brokerage research lead with Mid-Co Commodities.
For corn, the USDA pegged quarterly stocks at 7.401 billion bushels, the smallest for March 1 in nine years. Looking ahead to this spring, the USDA projected 2023 corn plantings at 92 million acres, up 4% from 2022.
However, traders cautioned that wet weather in southern reaches of the US crop belt and heavy snow in the Dakotas and Minnesota could complicate plantings in the coming weeks.
“These acreage numbers are all moot unless the snow starts to melt in the northern US Plains,” said Ed Duggan, senior risk management specialist at Top Third Ag Marketing. For the first quarter of the year, CBOT wheat fell 12.6%, with corn down 2.7% and soybeans down 1.2%.
Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures closed narrowly mixed on Friday as spillover strength from soybeans and corn offset pressure from a larger-than-expected US wheat plantings estimate from the US Department of Agriculture, traders said.
CBOT May soft red winter wheat settled unchanged at $6.92-1/4 per bushel. For the month of March, the CBOT May contract fell 13-1/4 cents a bushel or 1.9%. For the quarter, the most-active wheat contract fell 12.6%. K.C. May hard red winter wheat ended Friday up 6-1/4 cents at $8.77-3/4 a bushel, supported by dry conditions in the southern Plains, and MGEX May spring wheat rose 16 cents to settle at $8.95-3/4. MGEX spring wheat futures drew support as forecasts called for snowstorms in the Northern Plains on Friday and again next week that threaten the start of spring planting. The USDA estimated total US wheat seedings for 2023 at 49.9 million acres, up 9% from 2022 and near the high end of estimates in a Reuters poll of analysts. The USDA raised its estimate of US winter wheat seedings to 37.5 million acres, up from the 36.95 million acres it estimated in January.
The government projected seedings of spring wheat other than durum at 10.6 million acres, down 2% from a year ago, but traders cautioned that poor weather could complicate plantings in the coming weeks. The USDA also reported March 1 wheat stocks at 946 million bushels, down 8% from a year ago. European wheat futures fell as crops in both France and Britain continued to flourish.