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-New coronavirus identification methodology prompts surge in reported cases
-EU wheat crop ideas ticked lower
-Palm oil sharply lower overnight
-Soybean export sales a bit disappointing/others solid

 Malaysian palm oil futures were sharply lower overnight, with the benchmark April contract down 3.1%, pulling soybean oil lower as well. Veg oil price weakness started in China’s Dalian exchange following a surge in the number of reported coronavirus deaths by 242 as new disease identification methods have just been adopted, allowing for a quicker confirmation of infection. With the change in methodology, reported new cases jumped by 14,840 yesterday vs the previous technique which would have shown daily new cases of just 1,508.

 Strategie Grains lowered their estimate of the coming 2020/21 EU soft wheat crop to 138.6 MMT from 139.8 MMT previously and compares to last year’s 146.0 MMT. Despite the EU crop expected to be down modestly from last year, Strategie Grains expects overall weak wheat prices in the EU and Black Sea region throughout much of 2020 given the expectation for a very large Russian crop this year. Strategie Grains sees the EU’s new corn crop at 67.3 MMT (67.2 MMT previously) vs last year’s 63.5 MMT with planted area seen rising 3.4%.

 Please see our Market Insights post at https://portal.rjobrien.com/MarketInsights/Blog/Read/38991 details on the USDA Export Sales report.

 U.S. soybean sales were 645k tonnes (23.7 million bushel), at the bottom end of market expectations of 600k-1.0 MMT and were down slightly from the previous week’s 25.9 million bushels, but still meeting the roughly 20.8 million bushels/week in average sales needed in order for 2019/20 export to reach the USDA’s new 1.825 billion bushel export projection. New sales to China of 132k tonnes were reflected this week.

 U.S. corn sales last week of 969k tonnes (38.1 million bushels) were within market expectations of 700k-1.2 MMT, but were the lowest in four weeks falling below the 39.6-49.2 mil bu seen in the previous three weeks. Overall corn sales, though, have shown life of late with each of the last five weeks’ sales exceeding the roughly 25.3 million bushel/week average “needed” sales pace.

 U.S. wheat sales of 643k tonnes (23.6 mil bu) were at the top end of market expectations of 300-650k tonnes and rebounded from the previous week’s poor sales of just 12.4 mil bu, while falling in line with sales the previous three weeks of 23.5-25.6 mil bu.

 U.S. soybean meal sales of 234k tonnes were within market expectations of 125-400k tonnes and were similar to the previous week’s 213k tonnes. Overall, SBM sales continue to run at a solid clip, now averaging 381k tonnes over the last five weeks vs the 122k tonnes/week “needed” pace. Soybean oil sales were solid again at 39.1k tonnes vs market expectations of 7-30k tonnes.

Weather Argentina is expected to see rains of .50-1” in northern sections of Santa Fe and Entre Rios, with totals of .20-.60” elsewhere today and tomorrow. Conditions quiet down for the weekend, with another front indicated to bring rains of 1-2”+ to most areas by Monday and Tuesday of next week. Rains of .50-1”+ fell across around 75% of the Brazilian growing regions north of Parana, with things mainly dry south. Regular rains are seen for most Brazilian growing areas through the 10-day outlook period.

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