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-USDA announces corn/SBO sales – ideas China buys more US corn
-Grain movement issues impacting South American crushing
-Indian wheat procurement program likely impacted as nation goes on lock-down
-EPA does not appeal court ruling
-Brazilian export ideas maintained despite coronavirus
-Ethanol production slowdowns adding up

While there are so many outside effects currently in play impacting the grain markets, the USDA’s March 31 Grain Stocks and Prospective Plantings report could still provide considerable near-term price influence on the markets. Our pre-report commentary will be out later today.

 India implemented a 3-week near full shutdown of the country in order to contain the spread of coronavirus among its 1.3 billion people. The country’s notorious train system was fully shuttered at essentially the drop of a hat, while all air travel has been stopped, as well. The shutdown will likely result in the delaying of the country’s annual wheat procurement process in which 30-35 MMT of wheat is bought by the government from domestic producers for state-run food programs. Typically, the buying program begins April 1. The delay in the program will force farmers to either delay harvest or face risks associated with storing their own harvested grain in far from ideal conditions. India is expecting to harvest a record 106.2 MMT wheat crop this year.

 The USDA ag attaché in Indonesia sees the country’s 2020/21 palm oil production rising modestly to 43.5 MMT from 42.5 in 2019/20. Due to slowing demand related to the coronavirus pandemic, the attaché sees 2019/20 (Oct19-Sep20) Indonesian palm oil exports at 27.0 MMT, well below the USDA’s official estimate of 29.1 MMT and falling from last year’s 28.3 MMT. The reduction in exports, though, will allow for a greater increase in industrial (biodiesel) palm oil usage at 9.2 MMT vs USDA’s 8.0 MMT and estimate and rising solidly from 7.66 MMT in 2018/19. With the export cut greater than the industrial usage increase, the attaché sees 2019/20 Indonesian palm oil ending stocks at 2.86 MMT vs USDA’s 1.70 MMT and last year’s 2.66 MMT. Palm oil exports in 20/21 are seen at 28.5 MMT, with industrial usage staying at 9.2 MMT, and ending stocks at 2.51 MMT.

 USDA reported the sales of 138k tonnes of corn to unknown and 20k tonnes of soybean oil to South Korea for 2019/20 delivery this morning.

 There is talk in the market China may have bought another 250k tonnes of U.S. corn.

 India removed the 5% import tax on palm oil in what many are seeing as a step in the right direction for mending the friction with Malaysia, which has significantly slow palm oil exports to India.

 Brazilian oilseed crusher association Abiove maintained their estimate of 2020 calendar year Brazilian soybean exports at 73.5 MMT (74.0 MMT 2019) and soybean meal exports at 16.2 MMT (16.7 MMT 2019). They warned of possibly slowing exports, though, as several key farm towns this week have issued stay-in-place decrees which could ultimately impact the flow of soybeans and crush operations.

 Argentine soybean crushing appears at risk to slowing considerably as truck movement of soybeans into facilities has dropped significantly due to coronavirus implications. Some have said truck movement of soybeans is roughly half what it typically is at this time of the year. While crush plants are still operating as normally as possible, the reduction in soybeans flowing will ultimately force slowing of crush rates.

 The Andersons, Inc. announced they expect its ethanol plants to produce ethanol/coproducts at roughly 50% of their capacity in April as extended maintenance downtime is taken amid the coronavirus-impacted demand reductions. They operate five ethanol plants with combined annual capacity of 545 million gallons.

 Average expectations of the South African corn crop are 15.0 MMMT, up from the last official government estimate of 14.56 MMT and reflecting a 33% increase from last year’s 11.26 MMT crop.

 The deadline for the EPA’s ability to challenge a federal court ruling on the limiting of small refinery waivers has passed, which should result in implications of the ruling being applied nationwide and essentially void a good portion of the previously-issued waivers.

 Algeria bought around 240k tonnes of optional-origin milling wheat at $242.50-$243.00/tonne c&f, in what is a much smaller purchase than in previous tenders of 600k+ tonnes. Logistical concerns of moving grain in France amid the coronavirus pandemic may have limited offers.

 Iraq’s trade ministry said they see the need to import 1 MMT of wheat in 2020, up from previous expectations of 750k tonnes.

 The CME raised the maintenance margin on May 2020 soybeans to $1650/contract from $1500.

Weather Rains of .25-.75”+ fell in the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso, Goias and Minas Gerais, with things mainly dry in the rest of the Brazilian growing regions. Rains of .25-.75” fell across southern Buenos Aries and most of La Pampa, with dry weather in the rest of the Argentine growing regions. Brazil should see 1-2” fall in most of Mato Grosso and Goias in the next 5 days, with totals of .25-.75”+ in MGDS and Parana and little in the way of rainfall elsewhere. The 6-10 day sees rains of .50-1”+ to fall in most areas. The Argentine growing regions look to see rains of .50-1”+ fall across northern Buenos Aries/La Pampa and southern Santa Fe Entre Rios with a front that will work through tonight and tomorrow. The 6-10 day indicates rains of .50-1.5” to fall in most areas by Monday and Tuesday.

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