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Granted, it is a secular holiday, but it is one that all the boys in girls in the commodity world look forward to each year.  The wait is nearly over as USDA-a-Claus has already tabulated the score and knows who will receive what, but as is tradition, no one can open the presents until 11:00 Central. As with many a home on Christmas morning, once it begins, it can result in a flurry of chaos and confusion for at least a few minutes, and then more often than not, evolves into that post festivity letdown.  On this occasion, the presents are not awarded according to who has been good and who has been bad, as let’s be honest, most everyone would be getting lumps of coal and switches if that were the case, but undoubtedly, at the end of the day, some will be happier than others.

To prep us for the unwrapping, here again, are the trade estimates; Domestic corn production is expected to come through at 14.47 billion bushels, derived from 82.54 million acres and a yield of 175.3.  Bean production is estimated to fall in at 4.158 billion, coming from 82.3 million acres and a yield of 50.5.  The projected carryout for corn is 1.599 billion, for beans 139 million, and 859 million for wheat.  Total winter wheat seeding is projected to come in at 31.528 million, broken down with 22.14 Hard Red, 5.884 Soft Red, and 3.5414 White.  For South American crops, Brazil beans are expected to total 131.42 MMT and corn at 107.74, with Argentina at 48.44 MMT of beans and 47.41 MMT corn. World ending stocks are estimated to total 283.53 MMT for corn, 82.66 MMT in beans, and 315.37 MMT of wheat.  Finally, for the December 1st grain stocks, corn is expected to come in at 11.747 billion, beans 2.929 and wheat at 1.696.

While moisture conditions and the forecast have improved somewhat for Brazil, it will do little to help the nation’s early harvested beans.  There have already been a few done, but because of the delayed planting and overall dry conditions, it will be at a much slower pace than normal.  Dr. Cordonnier pointed out this week that last year, by the end of January, 25% of the beans in Matto Grosso, the largest producing state, had been harvested, and this year he estimates it will be less than 10%.  He left his estimate for both beans and corn unchanged this week at 128 MMT and 102 MMT, respectively. Last year, Brazil produced 126 MMT of beans and 102 MMT of corn.

As we have noted before, Argentina appears to have stumbled from one unfortunate event to the next for the past year.  Accidents at port facilities, strike after strike, with the latest farmer strike still ongoing even after the government backtracked on curtailing exports, and of course, dry weather.  Through it all, their farmer push ahead, and soybean planting has now reached 93.5% complete, and corn is up to 85.3% complete.  This week, Dr. Cordonnier left his bean estimate unchanged at 46 MMT but lowered the corn figure 500,000 MT to 44.5 MMT.  Last year this nation produced 48.8 MMT of beans and 51 MMT corn.

As we have commented numerous times in the past, it would be naïve to think that the oil/refining industry would not be challenging the decisions concerning blending exemptions.  This past Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments concerning the 10th Circuit Court decision, and unfortunately, according to sources, it would appear that one of the final moves by President Trump will be to grant waivers to some refiners exempting them from blending requirements.  As Yogi Berra famously said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”