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3 Big Things Today, March 17

Soybeans, Grains Mixed Overnight; Corn Sales Jump Week to Week on Low Prices.

1. Beans, Grains Little Changed as Traders Weigh Strong Corn Sales, Brazil Output

Soybeans and grains were little changed as investors weigh strong demand for corn and unfavorable weather for wheat against harvest pressure from South America.

Demand for corn was strong last week as sales jumped on low prices. Wheat futures are being underpinned by adverse weather in the U.S.

Little or no rain has fallen in much of the Southern Plains where hard red winter wheat is grown in the past 30 days, according to the National Weather Service. In the eastern Midwest, where soft red varieties are planted, several nights of freezing weather likely hurt crops, according to reports.

Still, investors are focused on South American production, which seems to be getting larger with each new report. The U.S. Department of Agriculture last week pegged Brazil’s soybean crop at 108 million metric tons, up from 104 million the prior month.

Soybean futures for May delivery rose 1¾¢ to $10.03¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal was unchanged at $329.30 a short ton, and soy oil gained 0.20¢ to 32.46¢ a pound.

Corn declined ½¢ to $3.65½ a bushel in Chicago.

Wheat futures were unchanged at $4.36 a bushel, and Kansas City wheat for May delivery rose ½¢ to $4.50½ a bushel.

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2. Corn Sales Jump Week to Week as Buyers Grab Low-Priced Grain

U.S. exporters sold 1.26 million metric tons of corn for delivery in the marketing year that ended on March 9, the Department of Agriculture said in a report.

That’s up 69% from the prior seven days and 70% from the previous four-week average, according to the USDA.

Mexico was the biggest buyer, taking 300,400 metric tons, followed by Japan, which bought 282,600 tons, the agency said. Colombia bought 182,200 tons, South Korea took 129,900 tons, and Taiwan purchased 91,200 tons.

Soybeans and wheat didn’t fare so well.

Soybean sales totaled 471,600 tons, down 3% from the prior week and 12% from the average, according to the USDA.

China was the biggest buyer, purchasing 221,400 tons. Germany was next on the list, taking 152,400 tons, the Netherlands bought 70,600 tons, Indonesia purchased 55,300 tons, and Taiwan was in for 30,000 tons.

Wheat sales for delivery in the marketing year that ends on May 31 totaled 264,400 metric tons, the government said. Mexico was again the biggest buyer at 118,500 tons, China bought 103,000 tons, Indonesia was in for 74,400 tons, and Cameroon purchased 37,000 tons.

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3. Dry Weather Persists in Southern Plains While Freeze in East Continues

Dry weather is again plaguing the Southern Plains, while freezing weather continues in parts of the south and east, according to the National Weather Service.

Much of hard red winter wheat country (southwestern Kansas and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles) are expected to remain dry this week. A fire weather watch is now in effect for the region starting Sunday due to gusty winds up to 35 mph and low relative humidity of about 5%, the NWS said.

Freezing weather persists in much of the southeastern U.S., now ranging from Kentucky and Tennessee down to Florida. A new front has left parts of Michigan and northern Indiana, along with much of eastern Wisconsin, under a winter weather advisory.

In southern Michigan, a wintry mix that includes freezing rain will spread across the area this morning. Rising temperatures, however, will melt accumulated ice before noon, the NWS said.

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