3 Big Things Today, April 25

Soybeans Higher in Overnight Trading; Ethanol Production Jumps to Highest in Three Months.

1. Soybeans Higher, Grains Lower in Overnight Trading

Soybeans were slightly higher overnight on continued optimism that the U.S. and China will close a trade deal next month. Corn and wheat were lower.

The sides have scheduled two more rounds of talks with U.S. officials including Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin heading to Beijing on April 30, while Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will come to Washington on May 8, the White House said in a statement yesterday.

The sides have been involved in high-level talks since December amid ongoing tariffs amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars on each other’s goods.

Chinese news agency Xinhua has reported that the sides have made substantial progress on the trade negotiations, and market watchers globally are hoping for an end to the seemingly never-ending talks.

Soybeans for May delivery gained 2¾¢ to $8.71½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Corn futures fell 1¼¢ to $3.54¾ a bushel.

Chicago wheat for May delivery lost 1¾¢ to $4.36¾ a bushel in Chicago, while Kansas City wheat declined ½¢ to $4.11 a bushel.

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2. Ethanol Production Jumps to Highest Level in More Than Three Months, Stocks Rise

Ethanol production jumped to the highest level in more than three months in the seven days that ended on April 19, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Stockpiles also rose.

Output of the biofuel increased to an average of 1.048 million barrels a day last week, the EIA said in a report. That’s up from 1.016 million a day, on average, the previous week and the highest level since the week that ended on January 11.

In the Midwest, by far the biggest-producing region in the U.S., production rose to an average of 968,000 barrels a day from 945,000 barrels the prior week. That’s also the highest level since the seven days that ended on January 11, according to the government.

East Coast output rose to an average of 26,000 barrels a day from 23,000 barrels a week earlier, and Gulf Coast production jumped to 21,000 barrels a day from 15,000, the EIA said.

Rocky Mountain production was unchanged week to week at 14,000 barrels a day, on average, and West Coast producers reduced output to 19,000 barrels from 20,000 the previous week, according to the agency.

Stockpiles, meanwhile, were up to 22.747 million barrels in the week through April 19, the EIA said. That’s up from 22.676 million barrels the previous week.

In other news, the USDA is scheduled to release its weekly Export Sales Report at 8:30 a.m. in Washington. Corn sales are seen from 600,000 to 1.1 million metric tons, soybean sales are expected from 300,000 to 750,000 tons, and wheat sales are pegged from 300,000 to 750,000 tons, according to researcher Allendale.

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3. Fire Risk High in North Dakota as Red River Flood Waters Likely to Fall Below Flood Stage

From floods to fire risks, all of North Dakota and parts of Montana, South Dakota, and Minnesota are in a red-flag warning this morning, issued when conditions are ripe for wildfires.

In western and central North Dakota, strong winds and low humidity are making for tinderbox-like conditions, according to the National Weather Service.

Wind gusts of up to 45 mph are expected this morning with humidity as low as 15%, the NWS said in a report early this morning. Any fires that ignite will “spread rapidly and become difficult to control,” the agency said.

Still, flood warnings are in effect along the Red River on the border of North Dakota and Minnesota.

The river at Fargo, North Dakota, was at 30.1 feet as of late Wednesday, just above flood stage of 30 feet, the NWS said. Water levels are expected to continue to decline to 29.4 feet by Friday morning, the NWS said.

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