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3 Big Things Today, November 18, 2020

Soybeans Higher in Overnight Trading; Grassley Tests Positive For COVID-19

1. Soybean Futures Rise on Crush and Brazil Weather

Soybeans were higher in overnight trading on follow-up buying from Monday’s crush report and dry weather in parts of Brazil.

Prices were higher as buyers are focused on the National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) report Monday that showed processors crushed a record 185.245 million bushels of beans in October, beating analyst expectations for 177.123 million bushels.

That was up 10% month-to-month and 1% from October 2019, NOPA said, according to Reuters. NOPA members account for about 95% of all soybeans processed in the U.S.

Weather in Brazil, the world’s biggest soybean exporter, is expected to be mostly dry with Rio Grande do Sul, southwestern Parana, northern Mato Grosso do Sul and southern Mato Grosso likely missing some moderate rain, according to  Commodity Weather Group.

Scattered rains are expected in northern Brazil and some may expand down into central states, but at least a quarter of the soybean and corn growing areas will be left dry.

Demand has been robust for soybeans, corn and wheat since the start of their respective marketing years so far this year.

Exporters reported sales of 195,000 metric tons of corn yesterday, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Still, no reports of soybean sales of more than 100,000 tons have been made in more than a week.

Soybean futures for January delivery rose 4 3/4¢ to $11.74 ½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soymeal was up 10¢ to $395.90 a short ton and soy oil gained 0.51¢ to 38.01¢ a pound.

Corn futures for December delivery added 1/4¢ to $4.27 a bushel overnight. 

Wheat futures for December delivery rose 4 3/4¢ to $6 a bushel while Kansas City futures fell 3/4¢ to $5.60 ¾ a bushel.

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2. Iowa’s Grassley Says He’s Positive For COVID-19 and Is Now in Quarantine

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, 87, said late Tuesday that he has COVID-19 and is now in quarantine.

Grassley, an Iowa farmer who’s served on the U.S. Senate for about 40 years and is president pro tempore of the Senate, said in two statements that he’d been exposed to the respiratory disease and later in a tweet that he had tested positive.

“I’ve tested positive for coronavirus,” the senator said on Twitter. “I’ll (be) following my doctors’ orders/CDC guidelines & continue to quarantine. I’m feeling good (and) will keep up on my work for the ppl of Iowa from home. I appreciate everyone’s well wishes (and) prayers & look fwd to resuming my normal schedule soon.”

In the two statements saying that he’d been exposed, he said he’d start to quarantine.

Grassley was born in 1933 in New Hartford, Iowa, and was elected to the Iowa Legislature in 1958, the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974 and the U.S. Senate in 1980. He’s the chair of the Senate Finance Committee and a member of several committees including agriculture, judiciary and budget, according to the biography on his Senate website.

On Monday he spoke to his fellow senators, saying all Americans should wear and mask and take personal responsibility for themselves, according to the Washington Post.

“We’re going to get through this together, but we need everyone to do their part,” he said on Monday, while not wearing a mask on the Senate floor, the Post reported.

On Twitter, he said people should consider ways to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe, and that he and his family wouldn’t have their normally large Thanksgiving gathering. He also said his family has been wearing masks, social distancing and sanitizing their hands.

He’s been married to his wife, Barbara, since 1954 and they have five children.

“As infections are on the rise in virtually all communities in the heartland I join (Iowa) Gov. (Kim) Reynolds in calling on all Iowans to double down on measures to help stop the spread in a reasonable manner,” he said in a separate tweet on Monday.


3. Red-Flag Warnings Issued in Several States Amid Dry Weather and Strong Winds

Red-flag warnings have been issued for large swaths of Colorado and Kansas and parts of New Mexico, Nebraska and Missouri, according to the National Weather Service.

In eastern Colorado and New Mexico, relative humidity is forecast to drop as low as 11% with sustained winds of 10 to 20 miles an hour and gusts of up to 30 miles an hour, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

“Conditions will be favorable for rapid rates of fire growth and spread,” the agency said.

In the western half of Kansas, the warning was issued for today due to conditions ripe for “grassland fire danger.” Relative humidity will drop to about 23% and winds are forecast from 30 to 35 miles an hour with gusts of up to 50 miles an hour.

“Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly and become very difficult to control,” the NWS said. “Outdoor burning is not recommended.”

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