Free Commentary

I apologize but these will be slightly abbreviated comments this morning.

While the USDA report did not deliver any major surprises yesterday, big export sales for corn and beans this morning appear to have lifted the spirits of bulls in those two markets. Corn in fact, came in above the highest estimates and set a new high for the marketing year.  For the week ending March 3rd, we sold 2,143,700 MT or 84.4 million bushels.  The largest quantity, 800.6k MT, went to unknown destinations, with Japan taking 398.4k MT and Mexico in for 290.2k.  New crop sales were negligible.  Soybean sales were solid at 2,204,300 MT or 81 million bushels.  China accounted for nearly 50% of these with purchases of 1.096 MMT, followed by unknown destinations taking 334k MT and then Egypt for 181k.  New crop sales totaled 895k, with China accounting for 89%.  Wheat sales did improve 2% for the week but certainly did not excite anyone at 301,200 MT or 11.2 million bushels.  The Philippines were the top purchaser with 133.1k MT, followed by Mexico, taking 111.7k, and Japan, 26.2k.  New crop sales came through at only 63k MT.  Beef sales also set a marketing-year high with sales of 27,500 MT, but pork sales slipped 40% to 25,400 MT.

Conab updated their numbers this morning and has reduced the Brazilian soybean estimate to 122.77 MMT from 125.47.  This compares with the 127 MMT that the USDA published yesterday.  They left the total corn production estimate at 112.34 MMT, which compares with the USDA at 114 MMT.

Over in the macros this morning, we find energies and metals strong, equities lower, the dollar higher, and financial instruments under pressure.  Obviously, the financial markets are convinced that the Fed will follow through with plans for the first of what should be several rate hikes, beginning this month.