CBOT weekly outlook: Soy, corn wait for next big thing

MarketsFarm — Soybean and corn futures at the Chicago Board of Trade have recovered off of nearby lows, but remain rangebound overall waiting for fresh news to push values one way or the other.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture holds its Agriculture Outlook Forum on Feb. 20-21. USDA’s first acreage and supply/demand estimates for the upcoming 2020-21 crop year will be released at the forum, and traders will be following those numbers closely.

“The downside (in soybeans and corn) is limited until we get on the other side of (the forum),” said Rich Feltes, of RJ O’Brien in Chicago.

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“On the flipside, any gains will be contained by the fact that South American crop production is improving, and it may be later, rather than sooner, that we see China come in on Phase One.”

MarketsFarm Pro analyst Mike Jubinville agreed the looming South American harvest will displace U.S. soybean sales to China for the time being, with any significant increased business tied to the trade agreement likely not coming until September.

Expectations that U.S. farmers will plant more soybeans and corn this spring — as unplanted acres from 2019 go back into production — will also limit the upside potential in the futures, according to both Jubinville and Feltes.

“There’s not a lot for our market to do right now,” said Feltes.

“We’re rangebound, marking time and waiting for the next big thing to come,” he added, noting the next market-moving influence will likely be U.S. spring weather patterns.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin reports for MarketsFarm in Winnipeg.

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