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3 Big Things Today, February 21

Soybeans, Grains Higher Overnight; U.S.-China Trade Deal Reportedly in the Works.

1. Soybeans, Grains Higher Overnight on Trade Optimism

Soybeans and grains were higher in overnight trading on optimism about a trade deal between the U.S. and China.

Several reports overnight said the sides were getting close to an agreement, though a deal isn’t expected to be signed this week.

A deal would end the months-long trade war between the countries in which each imposed tariffs on the other’s goods. Soybeans were especially hard hit as the Asian nation, once the biggest importer of U.S. oilseeds, essentially stopped purchases.

Prices had been fluctuating for the past few weeks as trade talks went on. Now, reports indicate negotiators are drawing up documents to end the dispute.

Soybeans for March delivery rose 5¢ to $9.07½ a bushel overnight. Soy meal gained $1.20¢ to $310.40 a short ton, and soy oil added 0.17¢ to 30.45¢ a pound.

Corn for March delivery rose 4¢ to $3.74¾ a bushel in Chicago.

Wheat for March delivery gained 7¾¢ to $4.92 a bushel overnight, while Kansas City futures added 8½¢ to $4.66½ a bushel.

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2. U.S., China Reportedly Close to Agreement to End Ongoing Trade War

U.S. and Chinese officials are close to a deal that would end the tit-for-tat trade tariffs the countries have imposed on each other, according to several media reports.

Negotiators from the world’s two largest economies are meeting again Washington this week, the fourth round of formal talks. Vice Premier Liu He will reportedly meet with President Donald Trump to discuss an end to the ongoing trade war.

A delegation from the U.S. including Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin went to Beijing last week. Mnuchin called the talks “productive” at the time.

Now, negotiators are drawing up memorandums of understanding on several so-called structural issues including agriculture. Also included are memos on forced technology transfer, intellectual property rights, cyber theft, and other trade barriers, Reuters reported, citing two sources familiar with the talks.

An agreement isn’t expected to be signed this week, Bloomberg reported, but the sides seem closer than they’ve been on hammering out a deal.

It’s still unclear whether the U.S. will allow the March 1 deadline to slide. The White House has said if a trade agreement isn’t signed by that date, tariffs on more than $200 billion worth of Chinese goods would rise to 25% from 10%.

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3. Another Round of Winter Storms Headed For Much of Eastern Nebraska, Western Iowa

Parts of Nebraska and western Iowa are expected to get hit with yet another round of winter storms starting tomorrow, according to the National Weather Service.

Only light snow is expected across north-central Nebraska tonight into tomorrow, but a “significant” winter storm is expected to hammer the area, again, through Wednesday, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

“This system should bring additional snow accumulations and will be accompanied by very strong winds,” the agency said. “Locally heavy snow accumulations are possible as well as a couple hours of blizzard or near-blizzard conditions. Peak wind gusts in the 40 to 55 mph range are possible.”

The first round of snow will leave about 3 inches of accumulations on Friday, and some freezing drizzle is possible later in the day tomorrow, the NWS said.

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