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3 Big Things Today, December 20, 2019

Soybeans, Grains Higher Overnight; Export Sales of Corn, Wheat Hit Marketing-Year Highs

1. Soybeans, Grains Rise Overnight After House Signs USMCA

Soybeans and grains were higher in overnight trading after the House of Representatives passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement last night.

The $1.2 trillion trilateral trade truce will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

National Corn Growers Association President Keven Ross said in a statement after the signing that corn farmers have been lobbying members of Congress to pass the bill and that they should be “incredibly proud” of their efforts.

“Ratifying USMCA has been NCGA’s top legislative priority because Mexico and Canada are the U.S. corn industry’s largest, most reliable markets,” he said. “NCGA thanks members of the House for their votes in support, along with President Trump and his administration’s continued efforts to come to a bipartisan consensus.”

The agreement now moves onto the Senate, where it’s expected to quickly be approved as it was in the House.

On the China-trade front, a deal is expected to be signed in early January, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday.

Soybean futures for January delivery rose 1¾¢ to $9.26¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soymeal gained 90¢ to $303.60 a short ton while soybean oil added 0.05¢ to 34.12¢ a pound.

Corn futures for March delivery gained 1¢ to $3.87½ a bushel.

Wheat for September delivery rose 2¾¢ to $5.48 a bushel, while Kansas City futures gained 3¼¢ to $4.63¾ a bushel.

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2. Export Sales of Corn, Wheat Reach Marketing-Year Highs, Soybean Sales Surge

Export sales of corn jumped to a marketing-year high, but still missed expectations, while soybean sales surged week-over-week, according to the USDA.

Corn sales in the seven days that ended on Dec. 12 came in at 1.71 million metric tons, up 96% from the previous week and “noticeably” from the prior four-week average, the agency said in a report.

Analysts had expected sales from 1.725 million to 2.7 million tons, according to researcher Allendale.

Mexico was the big buyer at 1.15 million metric tons, followed by Colombia at 119,400 tons, and Saudi Arabia at 72,600 tons. Canada bought 46,200 tons, U.S. government data show.

Soybean sales were reported at 1.43 million metric tons last week, up 36% week-to-week and 18% from the average for this time of year.

Analysts had pegged sales from 950,000 to 1.8 million tons.

China was the top customer at 689,600 metric tons, the USDA said. An unknown buyer bought 180,800 metric tons, Spain took 131,200 tons, Taiwan was in for 94,100 tons, and South Korea purchased 58,000 tons, the agency said in its report.

Wheat sales also surged to a marketing-year high of 868,600 metric tons, a 73% increase from the previous week and 95% from the four-week average.

Analysts forecast sales from 200,000 to 600,000 metric tons.

The Philippines bought 126,300 metric tons, Mexico was in for 125,000 tons, an unknown buyer took 124,000 tons, Indonesia purchased 95,000 tons, and Thailand bought 94,400 tons, the USDA said.

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3. Freezing Drizzle Forecast in Northern Minnesota, Wisconsin as Weather Maps Mostly Quiet

Weather maps are quiet again heading into the weekend, though some freezing drizzle is expected in extreme northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, according to the National Weather Service.  

Light freezing drizzle in the region will likely be combined with snow flurries, which combined will create slippery roadways, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

In the southern Plains, meanwhile, there’s a limited fire danger due to strong winds and dry weather, the agency said.

Wind gusts are expected to be lighter than yesterday and temperatures will be slightly cooler, reducing the chances of a wildfire.

Warmer weather is on the way, however, as a high-pressure system will lead to temperatures 10°F. to 20°F. above normal early next week. That, along with low humidity, likely will increase fire concerns, the NWS said.

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