By Kirk Maltais

-Corn for May delivery fell 1.3% to $4.28 1/2 a bushel, on the Chicago Board of Trade on Thursday, in reaction to the USDA's decision to keep many of its previous forecasts unchanged in its latest WASDE report.

-Wheat for May delivery fell 1.1% to $5.52 1/4 a bushel.

-Soybeans for May delivery fell 0.5% to $11.59 1/4 a bushel.


Mostly Untouched: South American estimates were left largely unchanged in today's WASDE, to the disappointment of many. "I think there has been much talk about reduced supplies in South America, so those numbers seem to need some work," said Donna Hughes of StoneX. Brazilian crop agency Conab made downward adjustments to its figures in its report released this morning, and analysts had forecast the USDA to make cuts as well - causing selling following the report's release.

All Around the World: Today's WASDE showed increased ending stocks for wheat and soybeans, while global ending stocks fell less than expected by analysts. "The report shows there is plenty of grain in the world, and it was mostly expected," said Virginia McGathey of McGathey Commodities. "The slip in all the grains mainly is the "buy the rumor sell the fact' type of thing." With ample supplies confirmed, traders are now watching to see what kind of weather planting season brings, McGathey said.

Missing the Mark: Outside of today's supply/demand reports, what also pressured corn futures was weak export sales. In its latest weekly report, the USDA said corn sales in the 2023/24 marketing year totaled 325,500 metric tons, a marketing-year low that's also 66% down from the previous week. Sales totaled only 9,500 tons for 2024/25, making total sales well below forecasts of analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal this week, who forecast sales to land between 750,000 tons and 1.3 million tons.


The Wait Drags On: Hopes for a short-covering event--something that would allow fund traders to exit their large short positions in grains en masse --went unfulfilled by today's WASDE report, said Jason Britt of Central States Commodities. While Britt believes that an unforeseen weather event during this spring or summer will likely be the cause for traders to rebalance their positions, the lack of a so-called "risk premium" on grain futures at this point in the growing season is in itself unusual, he says. According to the CFTC's last Commitments of Traders report, fund traders continue to hold sizable short positions in row crops --and are net short by nearly 260,000 contracts.

Crop Cut: Brazilian crop agency Conab pulled back its outlook for corn and soybeans, based on the negative effects of El Niño on Brazilian growing areas. In its monthly report released Thursday, Conab said it projects Brazil's soybean production at 146.5 million metric tons, which is a reduction from last month's forecast of 146.9 metric tons. Corn production is estimated at 111 million tons, which is down from the previous estimate of 112.8 million tons. For both crops, El Niño was the chief factor accounting for the reduction of crop sizes.

Climate Transition: A spring transition away from El Niño and into a climate-neutral system is growing increasingly likely, says the NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. The agency gives an 85% chance for El Niño to end between April and June, and a 60% chance for La Niña to develop between June and August. How climate acts this summer can affect how much heat impacts U.S. crops, as well as much precipitation they receive.


-The CFTC will release its weekly Commitment of Traders report at 3:30 p.m. ET Friday.

-The USDA will release its weekly grains export inspections report at 11 a.m. ET Monday.

-The USDA will release its first weekly Crop Progress report at 4 p.m. ET Monday.

Write to Kirk Maltais at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

04-11-24 1531ET