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US Soybean Outlook Tightens Slightly

The 2022-23 US soybean outlook has tightened modestly as a lower average yield and smaller harvested area blunted a slimmed-down export forecast. 

In its January supply-demand update Thursday, the USDA pegged soybean ending stocks for the current marketing year at 210 million bu, down 10 million from December and well below 274 million and 257 million the previous two years. Going into the report, most traders and analysts were expecting an increase – rather than a decrease - in the ending stocks estimate, up to around 236 million bu. With the surprise, soybean futures were trading around 30 cents higher near the noon hour. 

On the supply side, the USDA maintained its 2022 US soybean planted area estimate unchanged from last month at 87.5 million acres. However, harvested area was lowered 300,000 acres to 86.3 million. Along with the smaller harvested area, the USDA also downgraded its national yield estimate for last year’s crop, trimming it by more than half a bushel to 49.5 bu/acre, versus 51.7 bu in 2021. 

With harvested area and the average yield both falling from last month, nationwide soybean production for 2022 is now estimated at 4.276 billion bu, a fall of 69 million from December and below the previous year’s crop of 4.465 billion.

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