March wheat was 3 1/2 cents lower overnight. The dollar was modestly higher following a military exchange between North and South Korea. The March wheat contract remains in a very narrow range above last week's lows as trade lightens up ahead of the US Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. Rains moved through parts of the soft red wheat belt yesterday and overnight. Some areas received heavy rains and this system brought moderate to heavy totals to the Ohio River Valley, and parts of the mid-South into this morning. The rain was welcome, although it came into the start of winter dormancy for the soft red winter wheat crop in the northern and central Midwest, which is getting late for moisture relief, and parts of the central and western soft red belt remained dry. Dry weather also persists in hard red winter wheat areas of the western, north central and extreme southern Plains, and this is expected to continue over the next several days. The USDA's latest weekly Crop Progress report showed the winter wheat crop at 91% emerged as winter weather moves into the region. This compares to a 5-year average of 89%. The crop is rated at 47% good-to-excellent, up slightly from 46% last week. The rating last year was 64% good-to-excellent. The USDA will issue one more Crop Progress report next week before winter. The USDA announced a sale of 120,000 tonnes of soft white wheat to Egypt yesterday. In recent weeks, Egypt has favored hard wheat and soft white wheat from the US over their more traditional purchases of soft wheat. This week's export inspections for wheat were 13.8 million bushels, down from 16.3 million last week. Inspections need to average 26.1 million each week to reach the USDA's current export projection. Cumulative inspections to-date stand at 41.7% of the USDA's projection versus a 5-year average of 50.5%. This opens the door for lower export forecasts in future supply/demand reports.
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