By Kirk Maltais
--Corn for March delivery rose 3.7% to $3.89 1/4 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade on Friday, recovering from Thursday's slide as traders rethought the U.S.-China trade deal's terms.
--Wheat for March delivery gained 0.9% to $5.70 1/2 a bushel.
--Soybeans for March delivery rose 0.6% to $9.29 3/4 a bushel.
Benefit of the Doubt: Traders are starting to give President Trump's initial trade deal with China the benefit of the doubt. "It was a little oversold reaction," said Jason Britt of Central States Commodities of Thursday's 3.1% drop. "Let's not badmouth (the deal), let's see where it ends up," he said. Also helping corn was a belated reaction to the passage of the USMCA in the U.S. Senate Thursday. That deal is expected to spur higher corn exports to Mexico.
Bright Futures: Wheat crops outside the U.S. appear to be suffering, which could give CBOT prices a boost. French soft wheat plantings for 2020 are expected to be at a 19-year low of 4.47 million hectares, down 10% from last year, as heavy rainfall affects planting decisions, INTL FCStone said. The firm predicts Australia's wheat crop at 14.45 million metric tons, down more than 1 million tons from the USDA's estimate, after wildfires have damaged more than 26,000 square miles of land.
China Wait: Any recovery in corn is expected to be limited unless China begins large grain purchases. "Export sales are expected to be lackluster without Chinese corn business, so there are not a lot of short-term reasons to be long corn," said Tomm Pfitzenmaier of Summit Commodity Brokerage. Even with the phase one trade deal signed, there's an air of uncertainty. "At its core, buying decisions by China are political, not commercial, and thus are pretty much impossible to gauge," Charlie Sernatinger of ED&F Man Capital said.
--President Trump is scheduled to speak at AFBF Annual Convention on Sunday.
--Agricultural markets and the federal government will be closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
--The USDA releases its weekly grain export inspections data at 11 a.m. ET Tuesday.
--The EIA releases its weekly update on ethanol production and inventories at 11 a.m. ET Thursday.
Write to Kirk Maltais at firstname.lastname@example.org