Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

USDA’s supply and demand report largely stands pat

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MarketsFarm — Any changes in the latest monthly supply and demand report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Tuesday were few and far in between when it came to corn, wheat and soybeans; what the markets largely expected.

However, there were some small revisions to the department’s global projections.

That meant USDA’s March edition of the world agricultural supply and demand estimates (WASDE) had a negligible effect on the commodity markets. Rather, markets on Tuesday were more concerned with hopes of government stimulus packages to counter the economic downturn stemming from the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Also, markets are paying attention to the crude oil price war that broke out Monday between Saudi Arabia and Russia, which could continue for some time.

USDA did not make any changes in its corn forecast. Production is still expected to be 347.78 million tonnes, with exports of 43.82 million and ending stocks at 48.07 million tonnes.

Globally, USDA raised its corn production estimate by only 420,000 tonnes due to increased production in South Africa. World corn production is projected to be 1.112 billion tonnes. Global exports are pegged at 165.83 million tonnes, which is virtually unchanged. The expected carryout of 297.34 million tonnes is increased by all of 50,000 tonnes.

As with corn, USDA didn’t change its outlook for U.S. wheat. Production was kept at 52.26 million tonnes, with exports remaining at 27.22 million and ending stocks staying at 25.58 million tonnes.

There were very slight changes to the department’s global wheat estimates, with production bumped up to 764.49 million tonnes. Exports were raised by a tiny fraction to 183.62 million tonnes and the carryout was lowered by a very small amount to 287.14 million.

The only changes to USDA’s estimates for soybeans were a minor decrease of 10,000 tonnes to the total domestic use, and that had a corresponding increase to the ending stocks of 11.56 million tonnes.

USDA upped its estimate for global soybean production by almost 2.4 million tonnes to now 341.76 million, based on higher production in Argentina and Brazil. There was a minute change to the global exports, which are now at 151.88 million tonnes. The ending stocks were increased by almost 3.6 million tonnes to now 102.44 million.

While the March WASDE is rather mundane, before the end of this month the markets will turn their attention to USDA’s planting intentions report on March 31.

— Glen Hallick reports for MarketsFarm from Winnipeg.

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