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3 Big Things Today, April 24

Soybeans Higher in Overnight Trading; Two More Rounds of Talks Scheduled Between U.S., China.

1. Soybeans Higher, Wheat Lower in Overnight Trading

Soybeans were slightly higher on optimism about trade between the U.S. and China, while wheat was lower on lofty crop ratings.

Two more rounds of negotiations have been scheduled between the countries, according to a statement from the White House.

The talks have already gone on for months, and it appears a deal won’t be announced until early to mid-May.

Wheat futures were lower overnight as 62% of the U.S. winter crop is in good or excellent condition, according to the USDA. In Kansas, the biggest grower of winter wheat, 57% earned top ratings as of Sunday, while in Oklahoma, 70% was in good or excellent condition.

Still, only 5% of the spring crop planted as of April 21, well behind the five-year average of 22% for this time of year.

Soybeans for May delivery gained 3¢ to $8.65 a bushel.

Corn futures rose ½¢ to $3.60¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Chicago wheat for May delivery lost 2¢ to $4.43 a bushel in Chicago, while Kansas City wheat declined 3½¢ to $4.17½ a bushel.

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2. At Least Two More Rounds of Talks Scheduled Between U.S., China, White House Says

It looks like it’ll be at least until the middle of May before a trade deal is hammered out between the U.S. and China.

The White House said yesterday that Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will head to Beijing next Tuesday to continue talks.

“The subjects of next week’s discussions will cover trade issues including intellectual property, forced technology transfer, nontariff barriers, agriculture, services, purchases, and enforcement,” the White House said in a statement.

Following the U.S. delegation’s trip to Beijing, Vice Premier Liu He will be in Washington for further negotiations starting on May 8, the statement said.

While they’re “not there yet,” negotiators have made “a heck of a lot of progress,” National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said during a speech at the National Press Club.

“We've come further and deeper, broader, larger scale than anything in the history of U.S.-China trade,” he said.

The countries – the world’s two largest economies – have been at odds since last year when they began putting tariffs on each other’s goods. So far, levies have been placed on tens of billions of dollars’ worth of goods.

The sides came to the negotiating table at the start of December when presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping met, with the White House setting a March 1 deadline. That date came and went with no agreement in place, but negotiators have been traveling back and forth in a bid to work out a trade agreement.

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3. Frost Advisory Issued in Southern Plains, Flooding Continues on Major Waterways

A frost advisory is in effect until 7 a.m. in three counties in the Southern Plains, though no damage to wheat is expected.

Temperatures this morning will fall into the low-30s, not cold enough to do extensive damage to hard red winter wheat that’s recently emerged from overwintering, according to the National Weather Service.

There’s a small chance for thunderstorms in the Oklahoma Panhandle Friday through Sunday and early next week, the NWS said.

Flooding is still a problem along the Missouri River and the Mississippi River in the Midwest and the Red River along the North Dakota and Minnesota border.

The Red River at Fargo was at 30.6 feet as of last night, still above flood stage of 30 feet. The good news is, the river is falling and is expected to fall below flood level to 29.9 feet by mid-morning Thursday, the agency said.

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