After starting the day with bearish export numbers for soybeans and wheat, and faced with Thursday's higher U.S. dollar, markets showed little response. Corn and soybeans finished slightly higher, while the three U.S. wheats ended with small losses.
July KC wheat lost a half-cent to $4.25 3/4 Thursday, finishing the week down 15 1/2 cents as wheat prices continue to trade under substantial bearish pressure. Thursday's weekly export sales did not help the case for wheat prices either. Last week's wheat export sales totaled 11.7 mb and shipments of 18.4 mb were not close to the 31.7 mb needed each week to reach USDA's 945 mb export estimate by the end of May. The result is that the U.S. is likely to carry at least 1.1 bb of old-crop wheat into the new season on June 1. Heavy rain has been a frequent visitor to the Southern Plains lately, showing up again Wednesday evening and due to return early next week. The rains have created a lot of excess soil moisture for the SRW wheat crop, but overall good-to-excellent crop ratings remain high for winter wheat, at 60% USDA said. Outside the U.S., the western Canadian Prairies remain dry, but most other wheat regions appear mostly favorable, offering no significant production threat early in the new season. For now, the trends for all three cash wheat prices are down. DTN's National HRW index closed at $4.08 Wednesday, holding above its March low and down 13 cents from the May futures contract. DTN's National SRW index closed at $4.23 Thursday, also up from its low in March. U.S. futures markets are closed on Good Friday and resume trading at 7 p.m. CDT on Easter Sunday.
May corn ended up a quarter-cent Thursday, a quiet day of low-volume trading to end the week at $3.58 1/2, near its contract low. The U.S. weather map showed heavy rains and severe weather in the Southern Plains Wednesday evening into Thursday with moderate rain amounts reaching into the eastern Midwest. The same general area is expecting more rain early next week and the six- to 10-day forecast is for above-normal temperatures and precipitation for most of the U.S. As most know, a lot of planting can get done quickly whenever conditions allow, but for much of the northern Corn Belt, that time is still two weeks away or more, depending on how the weather pattern looks in early May. In the meantime, USDA anticipates a 600 million bushel (mb) increase in corn exports from Brazil and Argentina that typically start cutting into U.S. corn exports in July. Early Thursday, USDA said last week's export sales totaled 37.3 mb and shipments totaled 48.2 mb, enough to maintain hope that USDA's export estimate could be reached in 2018-19. Fundamentally, ending corn supplies have not shown much change in four years and prices should trade similar ranges. Technically, May corn is trading quietly near its contract low while cash corn prices chop sideways, above $3.30. DTN's National Corn Index closed at $3.37 Wednesday, 22 cents below the May contract and down from its February high of $3.52. In outside markets, the June U.S. dollar index is up 0.48 after the U.S. Commerce Department said retail sales were up 1.6% in March, more than expected. Other commodities were mixed and June hogs were up $0.62 after USDA reported China bought another 23,500 metric tons (mt) of U.S. pork last week.