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Crops Close Little Changed as Investors Await China News

Negotiators wrapped up latest round of talks today.

Soybeans and grains closed Friday little changed as investors await news from the latest round of trade negotiatons between the U.S. and China. 

Talks between the world’s two largest economies started yesterday in Washington and will continue throughout the day. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will reportedly meet with President Donald Trump at some point. 

Media reports Thursday indicated the sides are close to a deal that would end the months-long trade war between the countries, and the U.S. is reportedly drafting memorandums of understanding that covered key items such as agriculture, intellectual property, and technology transfer.

China has agreed to purchase up to $1.2 trillion in U.S. goods as part of the negotiations, CNBC reported. 

Still, an agreement isn’t expected to be signed this week, and it’s still unclear whether Trump will extend the March 1 deadline for a deal. The White House has said it will raise tariffs on Chinese goods to 25% from their current level of 10% if an agreement isn’t signed by the start of next month. 

Soybeans for March delivery rose ¼¢ to $9.11¼ a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal was unchanged at $309.80 a short ton, and soy oil dropped 0.03¢ to 30.79¢ a pound.

Corn added ½¢ to $3.76 a bushel in Chicago.

Wheat for March delivery rose ½¢ to $4.91½ a bushel, while Kansas City futures gained 1½¢ to $4.64¾ a bushel.

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Thursday’s Market Recap

Soybeans and grains closed higher Thursday on reports that the U.S. and China may be close to an agreement that would end the trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies. 

Trade talks resumed this morning, and several media reports rolled in overnight that the U.S. was drafting memorandums of understanding on issues including agriculture, intellectual property theft, and other key issues. 

Chinese officials are in Washington this week for another round of talks after U.S. officials last week went to Beijing. While a deal isn’t expected to be announced this week, several media outlets reported that negotiators were close to finalizing an agreement.

It’s still unclear whether the U.S. will allow the March 1 deadline to slide without increasing tariffs on more than $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, though President Donald Trump last week said he would consider it. 

Soybeans for March delivery rose 8¼¢ to $9.10¾ a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal added 70¢ to $309.90 a short ton, and soy oil gained 0.57¢ to 30.85¢ a pound.

Corn added 4¼¢ to $3.75 a bushel in Chicago.

Wheat for March delivery rose 7¼¢ to $4.91½ a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures gained 5¢ to $4.63 a bushel.

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Wednesday’s Market Recap

Wheat futures continued to fall on Wednesday, heading for their lowest price in almost seven months, amid reports of slack demand from overseas buyers. 

European Union wheat prices have declined in recent days as demand from North African countries including Egypt, the world's biggest importer of the grain, have fallen off, UkrAgroConsult said in a report this week. Prices are down $6 to $8 a metric ton in the past month, the consultant said. 

Countries that are buying seem to be leaning toward cheaper wheat from the Black Sea region that includes Russia and Ukraine and shunning U.S. supplies. Syria reportedly bought 200,000 metric tons of the grain from sellers in the area, while Bangladesh is considering purchasing at least 50,000 tons of Russian wheat, Reuters reported. 

Inspections of U.S. wheat for delivery to overseas buyers in the week that ended on Feb. 14 totaled 357,131 metric tons, down considerably from the 562,706 tons assessed the previous week and the 424,231 tons examined during the same period last year, the Department of Agriculture said in a report yesterday. 

Since the start of the marketing year on June 1, the USDA has inspected 15.7 million metric tons of wheat for overseas delivery, down form 17.6 million tons during the same timeframe a year earlier, government data show. 

Wheat for March delivery dropped 9¾¢ to $4.80 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures lost 8¢ to $4.52¾ a bushel. A close at that level in Chicago would be the lowest since July. 

Corn rose ½¢ to $3.70¼ a bushel in Chicago.

Soybeans for March delivery fell 2½¢ to $8.98¼ a bushel. Soy meal lost $1.40 to $304 a short ton, and soy oil gained 0.05¢ to 29.79¢ a pound.

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Tuesday’s Market Recap

Wheat futures closed lower Tuesday amid worries about demand.

UkrAgroConsult said in a report that demand from North African countries has waned, leading European Union sellers to reduce their prices. The consultancy said prices have fallen $6 to $8 a metric ton in the past month. 

FranceAgriMer reported that about 85% of the country’s crop is in good or excellent condition, up from 84% last year at the same time. Syria bought 200,000 tons of wheat from sellers in the Black Sea region, Reuters reported, while Bangladesh is reportedly considering purchasing at least 50,000 tons from Russia. 

In Australia, however, production fell to the lowest level in 11 years, the country’s Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Statistics said in a report on Tuesday. 

Wheat for March delivery fell 15¼¢ to $4.89 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures lost 15½¢ to $4.61 a bushel.

Corn declined 4¾¢ to $3.70 a bushel in Chicago.

Soybeans turned lower after trading little changed overnight ahead of another round of talks between the U.S. and China. 

For now, at least, it’s unclear whether the U.S. will follow through on its plan to raise tariffs on more than $200 billion worth of Chinese goods if a deal isn’t reached by March 1.

Soybeans for March delivery fell 6¢ to $9.01½ a bushel. Soy meal lost 60¢ to $305.90 a short ton, and soy oil dropped 0.21¢ to 29.74¢ a pound.

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