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3 Big Things Today, February 20
1. Soybeans Lower Overnight as China Plans to Increase Output
Soybeans were lower in early trading after China said it would revamp its agriculture industry and increase production of the oilseeds.
The Asian nation said it will implement a plan to rejuvenate its ag sector, though it didn't give much in the way of details. The country’s Ministry of Agriculture has been attempting to encourage soybean production using subsidies and crop rotations, Reuters reported.
China is the world’s biggest soybean importer, but due to the ongoing trade spat with the U.S., the second-largest exporter behind Brazil, the government seemingly wants to put more emphasis on domestic production.
China also confirmed that swine fever has spread to an eastern province for the first time, which could reduce feed demand.
Soybeans for March delivery fell 2¢ to $8.98¾ a bushel overnight. Soy meal lost 70¢ to $304.70 a short ton, and soy oil gained 0.05¢ to 29.79¢ a pound.
Corn futures were higher in overnight trading after a USDA report showed continued demand for the grain. U.S. inspections were higher week to week, and the amount assessed for overseas delivery continues to vastly outpace last year.
Corn for March delivery rose 3¼¢ to $3.73 a bushel in Chicago.
Wheat for March delivery gained ¼¢ to $4.90 a bushel overnight, while Kansas City futures added 1¢ to $4.61¾ a bushel.
2. Corn Inspections Jump Week to Week; Soybeans, Wheat Decline, USDA Says
Inspections of corn for overseas delivery jumped in the week that ended on February 14, while soybean and wheat assessments declined.
The USDA inspected 941,811 metric tons of corn for delivery to offshore buyers, up from 751,419 tons the previous week. That’s little changed from the 943,587 tons inspected during the same week last year.
Soybean examinations declined to 1.03 million metric tons from 1.07 million seven days earlier, the USDA said in a report. That’s still higher than the 962,050 tons during the same week in 2018.
Assessments of wheat totaled 357,131 metric tons last week, down sharply from the 562,706 tons inspected the previous seven days and the 424,231 tons the same week last year, according to the government.
Corn inspections are still up year over year as the USDA has assessed 24.2 million metric tons of the grain for overseas delivery since the start of the marketing year on September 1 vs. 16.7 million tons during the same time frame a year earlier.
Soybeans, meanwhile, are still well behind as 23.7 million metric tons have been inspected since the start of the marketing year, down from 37 million last year, the government said.
The USDA has inspected 15.7 million metric tons of wheat since the start of the grain’s marketing year on June 1. That’s down from 17.6 million tons inspected during the same period a year earlier.
3. Large Winter Storm Continues to Hammer Midwest to Mid-Atlantic States
A major winter storm is hammering much of the northeastern quarter of the U.S. as winter storm warnings and watches stretch from Kansas north to the Canadian border and east all the way to Maine, according to the National Weather Service.
A winter storm warning is in effect for much of eastern Nebraska, almost all of Iowa, parts of southern Minnesota, and eastern Wisconsin.
In eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, another 2 to 3 inches of snow are expected to fall, finally tapering around noon today, the NWS said in a report early this morning. Travel will be difficult amid slippery and snow-covered roads.
In Minnesota and Wisconsin, as much as 10 inches of snow are forecast.
“Snow will be heavy at times, particularly during the morning commute,” the agency said. “Snowfall is expected to continue much of the day on Wednesday. Snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour will occur at times during the storm.”