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3 Big Things Today, February 12

Soybeans Improve Overnight; Weekly Export Inspections of Corn, Beans Decline.

1. Soybeans, Corn Higher as Investors Eye Trade, Brazil Weather

Soybeans rebounded from yesterday’s losses, rising overnight as investors look to trade talks between the U.S. and China and monitor dry weather in Brazil.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are in Beijing and will meet with Chinese officials including Vice Premier Liu He for another round of trade negotiations.

By all accounts, the trade talks in Washington two weeks ago went well, though officials said there are a lot of issues that need to be worked through.

President Donald Trump said last week he won’t get a chance to meet with China President Xi Jinping before the March 1 deadline, after which the White House has said it will raise its tariff rate to 25% from its current level of 10%.

Still, Mnuchin told reporters he was “looking forward” to several days of talks with China in a bid to hammer out an agreement.

In Brazil, some relief from the recent dry weather is on the way. Weekend rains were near expectations in some growing areas including Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso so Sul, Goias, Minas Gerais, and northern Rio Grande do Sol, forecaster Don Keeney of Radiant Solutions said in a report.

Rains likely will favor some areas later this week, he said.

Soybeans for March delivery rose 4½¢ to $9.09½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal gained $1.40 to $306.30 a short ton, and soy oil added 0.02¢ to 30.26¢ a pound.

Corn rose 2½¢ to $3.75¼ a bushel overnight.

Wheat futures for March delivery fell 1¼ ¢ to $5.17 a bushel, while Kansas City futures lost 1¢ to $4.92¾ a bushel.

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2. Weekly Corn, Soybean Inspections Decline, Wheat Assessments Improve, USDA Says

Corn and soybean inspections for overseas delivery declined week to week, while wheat assessments were higher, according to the USDA.

Government officials examined 743,536 metric tons of corn over delivery to offshore buyers in the seven days that ended on February. 7, the USDA said in a report. That’s down from 901,214 tons the previous week and 846,524 tons the same week in 2018.

Soybean assessments, meanwhile, declined slightly to 1.06 million metric tons from 1.09 million a week earlier and 1.34 million the previous year, government data show.

Wheat inspections, however, rose to 562,307 metric tons from 442,775 a week earlier. That’s also up from last year’s 499,825 tons, the USDA said.

Corn examinations since the start of the marketing year on September 1 are still well ahead of last year’s pace while soybeans are well behind.

Inspections of corn since the beginning of September totaled 23.2 million tons, up from 15.7 million tons during the same time frame a year earlier, the government said. Soybean examinations are at 22.6 million tons, well behind the year-earlier pace of 36.1 million tons.

Wheat inspections since the start of the grain’s marketing year on June 1 are at 15.4 million metric tons, just behind last year’s pace of 17.1 million, according to the USDA.  

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3. Iowa, Wisconsin Under Winter Storm Warning, ½ Inch of Ice Expected in Northern Illinois

Iowa and Wisconsin continue to get blasted by a winter storm, while ice storms hit parts of northern Illinois, according to the National Weather Service.

In eastern Iowa and southern Wisconsin, snowfall rates of an inch or 2 an hour are expected throughout the morning, the NWS said in a report overnight.

Visibility will fall to less than ¼ mile at times, an additional 3 inches of snow will fall in parts of Iowa with another 10 inches possible in northern Wisconsin, and northwesterly winds are forecast at 15 to 25 mph with gusts of up to 35 mph, the agency said.

Blowing and drifting snow will be a problem, and travel will remain hazardous into the evening due to the blowing and drifting snow.

In northern Illinois, “significant icing” is expected with accumulations of up to ½ inch, the NWS said. Freezing rain will taper off throughout the morning.

Strong winds are also possible in the area this afternoon and into tonight, which could lead to power outages in affected areas. Road conditions will be slippery and likely will affect commute times, the agency said.

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