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-Argentine soybean/corn planting nears completion with crop conditions good
-China 2019 pork production 16-year low
-French wheat area seen down sharply
-No USDA sales announcements

 Official Chinese data showed 2019 pork production declined 21.3% from the previous year to 42.55 MMT, the lowest since 2003. Additionally, the National Bureau of Statistics reported China’s total pig herd at the end of 2019 was 310.4 million head, down 27.5% from the previous year and reflecting a modest increase from the end September 2019 count of 306.8 million head. Many have disputed China’s “official” pig herd numbers with losses viewed as much more significant. The NBS reported China’s total meat production in 2019 fell just 10.2% to 76.5 MMT, though, as increased poultry production (+12.3%) and beef production (+3.6%) partially offset the reduction in pork production.  US Ag Secretary Perdue said he expects farmers to receive the 3rd and final tranche of trade war aid, completing the $16 billion aid package announced last May. Another aid package this year should not be expected, he said.  The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange further ticked their estimate of this year’s Argentine soybean area down to 17.4 million hectares (43.0 mil acres) from 17.5 million hectares (43.2 mil acres) previously and from 17.7 mil hectares (43.7 mil acres) several weeks ago as dry conditions in Buenos Aires negatively impacted planting decisions. They said soybean planting is now 95% complete, with corn 91% complete. Overall crop conditions are quite good, with soybeans 61% good/excellent and just 1% poor (51% g/e, 10% p/vp last year) and corn 55% g/e and 3% poor (55% g/e, 5% p/vp last year).  Market talk is Chinese crushers booked Brazilian soybeans for March/April yesterday in typical seasonal buying activity as South America usually dominates global trade from March through July/Aug.  As a result of the continued palm oil price strength, until recently, Malaysia’s crude palm oil export tax will rise to 6% from 5% in January given the upwardly adjusted reference price. However, the near-term considerable setback in palm oil prices continued overnight with another 1.7% decline in benchmark April futures, resulting in a 9.2% decline for the week, the largest singleweek price decline in more than 11 years.  A survey of French grain handling firms showed average expectations for the country’s soft wheat planted area for the 2020/21 crop to have declined 10% from last year to a 19-year low as heavy fall rains negatively impacted planting operations. With the decline in area, soft wheat production was preliminarily penciled at 33.3 MMT based on average yields vs last year’s 2nd highest on record 39.5 MMT.  South Korea bought 66k tonnes of optional-origin corn at $216.30/tonne c&f for April 20 arrival.  There were no USDA sales announcements this morning. Weather Argentina saw rains of .50-1”+ in northern Santa Fe and most of Corrientes yesterday. Conditions look to be mainly dry through the weekend and Monday and then the next front is indicated to bring rains of .50-1” and coverage of around 75% most areas TueWed of next week, favoring the west more than the east. Mostly dry conditions are expected in the 6-10 day period. Brazil saw 75% coverage rains of .50-1”+ from northern RGDS north yesterday. Rains of .50-1.5”+ are expected from northern MGDS and northern Sao Paulo north in the coming days, with activity to the south generally under .50”. In the 6-10 day period, soaking rains of 1-3”+ are expected across the northern ½ of Goias and Minas Gerais, with totals of 1-2” in the rest of Goias, while most of Mato Grosso and northern MGDS sees .50-1.5”. Less than .50” is expected across RGDS, Santa Catarina, Parana and Sao Paulo.

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