TFM Daily Market Summary 3-21-2024


  • Buying strength in the grain markets supported corn futures in Thursday’s session. Strong overnight strength pushed May futures to their highest levels in over a month, but prices faded and stayed tagged near the 440 level.
  • Weekly export sales for corn remain supportive. The USDA reported new sales last week of 46.7 mb (1.185 mmt), which were within expectations. Total corn sales commitments now total 1.642 billion bushels, trending 19% higher than last year.
  • South American weather is non-threatening overall. Areas of Brazil have received rainfall for the second (safrinha) crop corn as planting finishes. There are regional reports of stress due to heat, but the weather trend still looks favorable. Argentina weather is seeing an overall drier outlook as the crop nears completion.
  • The recent price strength reflects managed money’s lifting of short positions before the beginning of the US growing season. The market will watch early season weather and determine the next direction for corn prices.


  • Soybeans ultimately ended the day higher but were volatile throughout the day with overnight trade seeing May futures up as much as 18 cents and down as much as 5 cents this afternoon. Soybean meal ended higher with support from Argentina’s excess of rain, while soybean oil was lower.
  • Soybeans have been making technical rallies after surpassing the 50-day moving average with likely short covering taking place by the funds. However, when prices rallied overnight, it spurred increased farmer selling in the US and Brazil, which added downward pressure to prices.
  • Today’s export sales report showed an increase of 18.2 mb of soybean export sales for 23/24 which was within the range of trade expectations. Soybean sales commitments are down 19% from a year ago. Last week’s export shipments of 28.4 mb were above the 15.9 mb needed each week to meet the USDA’s expectations. Primary destinations were to China, Mexico, and Indonesia.
  • South American weather has been wet overall and may cause harvest delays in Brazil until next week. Argentina is also reportedly too wet which could cause some damage to their soy crop. Argentina is the number one exporter of soybean meal, so this is likely the reason for the recent rally.


  • All three US wheats managed to close marginally higher, despite a two-sided trade and some negative influences.
  • SovEcon is said to have increased their Russian 24/25 wheat production estimate by 1.2 mmt to 94 mmt, versus 92.8 mmt for the 23/24 season, and the USDA’s estimate of 91.5 mmt. This is also well above the five-year average of 86.7 mmt.
  • To add to negativity, the US Dollar Index surged today, hovering near recent highs above 104, and while Paris milling wheat futures closed marginally higher today, they ran into resistance around the 40 and 50-day moving averages. These combined factors may have limited the upside movement of US futures today.
  • The USDA reported a decrease of 4.0 mb of wheat export sales for 23/24 and an increase of 10.5 mb for 24/25. Shipments last week at 14.5 mb were below the pace of 17.9 mb needed per week to reach the USDA’s goal of 710 mb of 23/24 wheat exports.
  • In the face of recent cancellations, China may have record grain imports for 2024. Their Australian wheat imports from January and February are nearly four times what they were a year ago. China is the world’s largest wheat buyer and is also a major importer of ag goods, reportedly spending a total of $234 billion on imports last year.
  • According to Coceral, the European grain harvest, including both the EU and the UK, is projected at 295.5 mmt. That is down 1 mmt from their December estimate of 296.5 mmt, but would still be above the 292.4 mmt from the 2023 harvest. The main reason cited for the projected decline is wet weather that delayed planting.


  • The April Class III contract moved to a new contract low today by trading to $15.71 and closing at $15.74.
  • The culprit was an ugly cheese trade in which blocks fell 5.25 cents and barrels closed 2.50 cents lower to bring the average to $1.43375/lb, its lowest point since the end of December.
  • The Class IV spot trade was under pressure as well with butter dropping 1.75 cents and powder down a penny.
  • This had futures 1 to 15 cents lower on the Class IV side, bringing the 2024 average down 4 cents to $20.33.

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John Heinberg

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