3 Big Things Today, August 14
1. Grains Higher Overnight on Trade, Farmers Dismiss WASDE
Grains were higher in overnight trading amid optimism that China will continue to buy U.S. agricultural products and as farmers dismiss this week’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) Report.
The U.S. has put 10% tariffs on additional Chinese goods on hold until December, leaving some hoping China returns to the market for U.S. agricultural items. So far, there’s been no indication that China will resume purchases.
The WASDE Report earlier this week crushed markets, with the USDA projecting growers planted 90 million acres with corn, topping consensus compiled by Reuters for 88 million. Yield was seen at 169.5 bushels an acre, well ahead of forecasts for 164.9 bushel.
Production was pegged at 13.9 billion bushels, also topping expectations for 13.2 billion bushels.
Some farmers, traders, and other market-watchers are skeptical, saying the USDA overshot with its estimates.
Corn futures for December delivery rose 4¼¢ to $3.80¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.
Wheat for September delivery gained 7½¢ to $4.79½ a bushel, while Kansas City futures added 5¼¢ to $4.05¾ a bushel.
Soybean futures for November delivery fell ¾¢ to $8.88¼ a bushel overnight. Soy meal rose fell 40¢ to $304.20 a short ton while soybean oil added 0.16¢ to 29.70¢ a pound.
2. Latest on U.S.-China Trade War May Be Good News as Tariffs Set For September 1 Delayed
The latest on the U.S. and China trade war is good news – maybe.
Tariffs that were expected to go into effect on another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods have been delayed until December 15.
That, in turn, will hopefully mean China will continue to buy U.S. agricultural products, purchases it halted after the latest round of levies were announced by the White House.
Separately, President Donald Trump asked Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to buy a “huge amount” of farm products to help offset the void left by China, according to Kyodo News Agency, citing several Japanese and U.S. government sources.
Specifically, he asked Japan to buy soybeans and wheat in a deal that wouldn’t be tied to the trade talks now ongoing between the countries, Kyodo reported. Any purchases would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, the news company reported.
It’s been a rough week for Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue after he made a joke in front of farmers in Minnesota: “What do you call two farmers in a basement? A whine cellar.”
News outlets said the reaction was a mix of laughs and boos. Some saw the joke as poorly timed amid increased bankruptcies in farm country amid an ongoing trade war that seemingly has no end in sight and low crop prices.
3. Hot Weather Confined to Gulf Coast, Thunderstorms Firing Up Again in Nebraska, Iowa
Hot weather that hit the Midwest this week has moved south into the Gulf Coast.
Temperatures in Louisiana are expected to hit around 105˚F. today, but the extreme weather seen in parts of the southern Corn Belt that past few days will stay south, according to the National Weather Service.
Farther north in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, meanwhile, thunderstorms are expected starting late tonight, the NWS said in a report early this morning.
The storms likely will last all day Thursday and Friday with damaging winds and large hail possible, the agency said. The storms will become more isolated Saturday through Monday.