By Kirk Maltais

-- Soybeans for May delivery fell 0.9% to $11.63 3/4 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade on Wednesday as traders finalized their positions ahead of the USDA and Conab reports Thursday.

-- Wheat futures for May delivery were virtually unchanged at $5.58 a bushel.

-- Corn for May delivery rose 0.6% to $4.33 3/4 a bushel.


Ready to Move: Traders treaded cautiously ahead of Thursday's WASDE report from the USDA and Conab's latest estimates about Brazilian crops. The general outlook is the reports will show little in the way of changes.

"The reports are expected to be non-inspiring, and the focus of traders quickly shifts back to Central U.S. and world weather," said AgResource in a note.

Planting is expected to ramp up this weekend, and traders will be watching for indications of how this proceeds.

Making Up Ground: Concerns about profitability was a factor moving corn up Wednesday, with some analysts saying prices need to climb more to make the crop profitable this marketing year.

"It is very expensive to plant corn and corn is considered unprofitable to plant right now," said Jack Scoville of Price Futures Group. Prices may need to travel roughly 25 cents a bushel higher to make it profitable, although that figure is dependent on individual producers' balance sheets, he said.


Export Questions: 254,000 metric tons of U.S. soybeans were sold to unknown destinations for delivery in the 2024-25 marketing year, the USDA said.

This follows its announcement Tuesday that 124,000 tons of soybeans were also sold to unknown destinations for delivery in 2023-24. "Unknown destinations" is typically viewed by traders to mean China, although rumors circulated of other buyers being the destination.

Despite the flash sales, soybean export demand is expected to stay poor as Brazilian competition dominates the global market.

"Beans are the weak leg as a relatively worse export demand forecast is expected to make beans the worst performer moving forward," said Doug Bergman of RCM Alternatives in a note.

Turning Back: U.S. ethanol stockpiles fell back from the previous week, according to government data, running counter to analyst forecasts of a near-record inventory.

The EIA said ethanol stocks for the week ended April 5 totaled 26.21 million barrels, down from 26.42 million barrels the previous week. Analysts surveyed by Dow Jones forecast stocks to land between 26.2 million and 26.82 million barrels.

Daily average ethanol production landed at 1.056 million barrels a day, which is down from 1.073 million barrels the previous week.

Ethanol is an important consumer of U.S. corn.


-- The USDA is scheduled to release its weekly export sales report at 8:30 a.m. EDT Thursday.

-- The USDA is due to release its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates at noon EDT Thursday.

-- The CFTC is scheduled to release its weekly Commitments of Traders Report at 3:30 p.m. EDT Friday.

Write to Kirk Maltais at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

04-10-24 1527ET