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3 Big Things Today, May 17

Beans, Grains Modestly Higher Overnight; Dollar Drop to Six-Month Low May Boost Demand.

1. Soybeans, Grains Higher as More Wet Weather Moves Into Midwest

Soybeans, corn, and wheat were all higher overnight on some concerns about wet and stormy weather in the next few days.

Wet weather in much of the northwestern third of the Midwest are expected to delay planting in some areas, while precipitation is expected next week in much of the southern Midwest and Delta areas, all of which could slow planting, according to Commodity Weather Group.

Growers are caught up with the normal pace for seeding this time of year, and they showed just how fast they can get seeds in the ground when pressed when they planted almost a fourth of the corn crop in just one week. Still, any delays this time of year make investors nervous.

Prices also may be rising as bargain hunters come looking for good buys at low prices, and soybeans and grains certainly are inexpensive right now, analysts said.

Soybean futures for July delivery gained 3¼¢ to $9.79½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal added 20¢ to $317.20 a short ton, and soy oil futures rose 0.27¢ to 33.28¢ a pound.

Corn futures added a penny to $3.68¾ a bushel in overnight trading.

Wheat for July delivery gained 2¼¢ to $4.26½ a bushel, while Kansas futures rose 2¢ to $4.26½ a bushel.

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2. Dollar Value Drop to Lowest Level in Six Months Makes U.S. Goods More Attractive

The value of the dollar has been on a tear to the downside lately, dropping to the lowest level in six months. That’s good news for growers and others who rely on exports of dollar-denominated goods, but it's bad for investors who were bullish on the greenback.

The U.S. currency fell to the lowest level since November 8 yesterday against a basket of its global counterparts amid political tensions.

The dollar has been falling steadily for a week since President Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey. The slide continued amid revelations that the president reportedly revealed classified information to Russians visiting the Oval Office.

The value also declined on an unexpected drop in new housing starts in April and a slide in Treasuries.

While that may not be good for the aforementioned investors who had bet on an increase in the dollar’s value, it’s good for people who export goods to overseas buyers – including farmers.

A weaker greenback makes dollar-denominated goods including corn, soybeans, wheat, and oil more attractive to overseas buyers. It also curbs the price of corn and beans from South American producers, leaving many of them unwilling to sell at currently low prices.

That, in turn, slows exports from Brazil and Argentina and speeds demand for U.S. products.

For now, at least, there’s no relief in sight for the dollar bulls, according to analysts. Westpac Banking Group is advising investors to sell the dollar, and Macquarie Bank said it expects further declines in the greenback, according to Bloomberg. The banks are among the most accurate currency forecasters in the world, the news company said. Goldman Sachs last week lowered its forecast for the dollar.

The dollar is down another 0.2% in early trading.

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3. Thunderstorms Forecast as System Moves North From Southern Plains to Midwest

Thunderstorms are forecast today and tonight for parts of the Midwest and much of the lower Mississippi River Valley, according to the National Weather Service.

A large storm is expected to sweep up from Texas into Iowa this afternoon, which will mean more rainfall for parts of the Corn Belt. The storm is moving fast but could spawn tornadoes or damaging wind, the NWS said in a report early on Wednesday.

Planting is expected to be delayed, as some of the thunderstorms forecast by the agency will produce flash floods due to extremely heavy rainfall.

More rain and nonsevere thunderstorms are expected in the Midwest heading into the weekend. That also is forecast to delay planting.

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