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3 Big Things Today, February 20, 2020

Soybeans, Grains Lower in Overnight Trading; Brazil Begins Exporting DDGS.

1. Soybeans, Grains Lower Overnight on Trade Uncertainty

Soybeans and grains were lower in overnight trading on concerns about Chinese demand for U.S. products.

It’s still unclear how the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, will affect demand in the Asian nation.

China now has almost 75,000 confirmed cases and more than 2,100 deaths, according to media reports. Most of the deaths have been in the Hubei province where the disease was first reported.

South Korea said one of its citizens has died from the disease. The country now has reported 104 cases of the coronavirus. Two people who were on the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan, died, the first deaths from the vessel.

So far China hasn’t started buying the U.S. agricultural products that were promised when the countries signed a partial trade agreement last month, and it’s unclear when purchases will begin.

Soybean futures for March delivery lost 4½¢ to $8.92¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal fell $1.60 to $296.90 a short ton, and soy oil declined 0.01¢ to 30.33¢ a pound.

Corn futures fell 1¼¢ to $3.79¼ a bushel overnight.

Wheat futures for May delivery fell 4¢ to $5.58½ a bushel, while Kansas City futures dropped 4½¢ to $4.82¼ a bushel.

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2. Brazil Begins Exporting DDGs Made From Corn Ethanol

Brazilian corn-ethanol producers have started exporting dried distillers grain, or DDGs, another product for which U.S. companies will battle the South American country for market share.

The Port of Paranagua said in a report that a second shipment of DDGs was launched from the port on January 18. The first cargo was sent in December, the report said.

The port said it’s adjusting to the new product, so there’s going to be a bit of a learning period for workers and ship captains.

After the first cargo was sent at the end of last year, the Combessul Terminal that was responsible for the cargoes “made some operational changes” by processing the shipment through two terminals instead of just one.

Only about 5% of Brazilian ethanol is made from corn; the rest is made mostly from sugar. The South American country produced about 1.5 billion liters – roughly 396 million gallons – of corn-based ethanol in the 2019-2020 marketing year, according to state trader Conab.

While that doesn’t seem like much, the U.S. has the capacity to produce 15 billion gallons of ethanol and more than 44 million metric tons of DDGs, according to the U.S. Grains Council, keep in mind that Brazil just a few years ago didn’t produce any corn-based ethanol and, therefore, no DDGs.

Also keep in mind that Brazilian soybean production has grown from 39.5 million metric tons 20 years ago to about 125 million metric tons today. It’s also now the world’s largest exporter of the oilseeds.

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3. Windchill Advisories in Effect For Much of Northern Midwest

It’s going to be cold in the northern Midwest as windchill advisories are in effect, according to the National Weather Service.

 In parts of eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota, windchills are expected to fall as low as -40˚F., the NWS said in a report early this morning. Such cold wind can cause frostbite in as little as 10 minutes.

The windchill warnings stretch from northern Iowa northwest into South Dakota and north to Minnesota’s border with Canada.

In southern Wisconsin and northeastern Iowa, meanwhile, windchills are expected to hit -30˚F. through midmorning, the agency said in its report.

Meanwhile in the Southern Plains, as much as 3 inches of snow are expected to fall in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles today, the NWS said.

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