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Commodities Corner: U.S. corn and soybean stocks rise, but corn plantings forecast cut: USDA

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Corn futures climbed Thursday after reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday revealed higher U.S. corn and soybean stocks, along with a lower forecast for this year’s planted corn acreage.

U.S. corn stocks were at 7.85 billion bushels on March 1 of this year, up 2% compared to the same time a year ago and soybean stocks were up 24% at 1.93 billion bushels, according to the USDA’s seasonal Grain Stocks report.

All-wheat stocks, however, were down 22% from March 1, 2021, at 1.02 billion bushels, the USDA data showed.

The grain stocks numbers came in pretty much right on expectations, but were a bit bullish for corn and bearish for soybeans relative to expectations, said John Payne, senior futures and options broker, and market strategist with StoneX Financial Inc., Daniels Trading Division.

In Chicago, May corn
CK22,
+1.25%

traded at $7.47 3/4 a bushel, up 9 3.4 cents, or 1.3%, while May soybeans
SK22,
-2.64%

lost 43 1/4 cents, or 2.6%, to $16.20 3/4 a bushel. May wheat
WK22,
-0.27%

rose 3 1/2 cents, or 0.3%, to $10.30 3/4 a bushel. It settled Tuesday at its lowest in about a month.

In a separate annual Prospective Plantings report Thursday, the USDA estimates corn planted acreage at 89.5 million acres this year, down 4% compared with last year.

Soybean planted area, meanwhile, was estimated at a record 91 million acres, up 4% from last year and all-wheat planted area was seen 1% higher at 47.4 million acres, the USDA said.

The corn acreage number is “really bullish,” said Payne. Still, he expects famers to “make a push to plant $7 corn.” That should show up in the June report, he said.

The soybean planted acreage estimate, meanwhile, is bearish but the continued drop in South American yields will “support beans on breaks” in prices, said Payne. “I image any weakness in beans are bought, especially old crop where U.S. crush margins are massive. The CME defines the soybean crush spread as a gauge of the potential profit margin for processors.

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