3 Big Things Today, February 25, 2020
1. Soybean, Grain Futures Mixed in Overnight Trading
Soybeans and grains were mixed in overnight trading after yesterday’s initial shock about the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, outside of China.
China’s National Health Commission said in its daily briefing that it now has 77,658 confirmed cases and 2,663 deaths from the disease.
South Korea said it now has almost 1,000 confirmed cases, rising by almost 150 day to day, while Iran reported 15 deaths, according to media reports.
The U.S. still had 14 cases as of yesterday, unchanged from the previous day’s total, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The spread of the disease spooked not only commodity markets yesterday but also equity markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 1,000 points. Soybeans lost more than 16¢ and corn fell almost a nickel.
Traders seem less pessimistic this morning. Dow futures were up 0.3% in premarket trading while the S&P 500 gained 0.3% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.5%.
Soybean futures for March delivery gained 2¢ to $8.84½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal added 0.80¢ to $292.80 a short ton, and soy oil lost 0.28¢ to 29.58¢ a pound.
Corn futures rose ¼¢ to $3.67½ a bushel overnight.
Wheat futures for May delivery dropped 3¢ to $5.31¾ a bushel while Kansas City futures declined ¾¢ to $4.58½ a bushel.
2. Export Inspections of Corn Rise Week to Week, While Soybeans Drop
Inspections of corn for overseas export rose week to week, while soybeans plunged, according to the USDA.
Wheat assessments declined.
Corn inspections for offshore delivery rose to 912,922 metric tons in the seven days that ended on February 20, the agency said in a report. That’s up from 795,399 tons the previous week and 761,656 tons at the same time a year earlier.
Weekly examinations of soybeans, however, plunged to 594,536 metric tons from 1 million tons a week earlier. The total last week was less than half the 1.31 million tons assessed during the same week in 2019, government data show.
Wheat inspections also declined, falling to 411,523 metric tons from 503,082 tons the previous week, the USDA said. That’s also down from the 767,570 tons inspected a year earlier.
Since the start of the marketing year on September 1, the government has inspected 13.2 million metric tons of corn for overseas delivery, down from about 25 million tons at the same point the previous year.
Soybean inspections since the start of September are up to 28.9 million metric tons from 25.1 million at the same point last year, according to the government.
Inspections of wheat, since the start of the grain’s marketing year on June 1, are up to 18.1 million metric tons from 16.5 million a year earlier, the USDA said.
3. Winter Weather Continues in Northern Plains, Spreads to Kansas; System Aiming For Illinois
The winter storm affecting parts of the Dakotas yesterday is spreading south and is now reaching into central Kansas, while a separate system is bringing cold, snowy weather from Missouri to eastern Michigan, according to the National Weather Service.
In southern Nebraska and north-central Kansas, another inch of snow on top of what’s already fallen is expected, the NWS said in a report early this morning.
Wind gusts of up to 55 mph are forecast for the area, which will “significantly” reduce visibility to about ½ mile in some areas.
A winter storm warning is in effect for several counties in southeastern Montana, northeastern Wyoming, and western South Dakota this morning.
Another 3 to 6 inches of snow are expected in the Rapid City, South Dakota, and central Black Hills areas, the NWS said.
In northern Illinois, meanwhile, snowfall totals of 3 to 5 inches are expected along with wind gusts of up to 35 mph as a storm moves into the region this evening, the agency said. Roads are expected to turn slippery.