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3 Big Things Today, February 26, 2020
1. Soybeans, Grains Little Changed in Overnight Trading
Soybeans and grains were little changed in overnight trading as investors weight reports that the coronavirus, or COVID-19, is spreading outside of China against optimism about demand for U.S. agricultural products.
France reported its first death from the disease, and Spain said it now has eight new cases. Confirmations have come in from Austria, Switzerland, and Croatia, according to media reports.
READ MORE: Virus panic in the markets
The South Korean government said the country now has more than 1,200 confirmed cases, up by about 200 from Tuesday.
China’s National Health Commission said in its daily briefing today that it now has 78,064 confirmed cases and 2,715 deaths. That’s up from 77,658 cases and 2,663 deaths yesterday.
As of Monday, the U.S. still had 14 cases, unchanged from the previous reporting day’s total, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency will update its information today.
European and Asian stocks are down in overnight trading, while U.S. equity futures are slightly higher, indicating a stronger open.
Soybean futures for March delivery fell ¼¢ to $8.88 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal rose 20¢ to $293.20 a short ton, and soy oil lost 0.08¢ to 29.54¢ a pound.
Corn futures fell ½¢ to $3.76 a bushel overnight.
Wheat futures for May delivery dropped 1¾¢ to $5.35¼ a bushel, while Kansas City futures declined ¾4¢ to $4.61¼ a bushel.
2. Kansas Wheat Conditions Improved Year Over Year in February, USDA Says
Winter wheat in Kansas, the country’s largest grower of the grain, looked better in February than it did last year, according to the USDA.
The state’s crop, the bulk of which is hard red winter wheat, was rated 2% excellent, 33% good, 45% fair, 14% poor, and 6% very poor, the USDA said in a report.
That compares with 1% excellent, 11% good, 39% fair, 36% poor, and 13% very poor in February 2019, government data show.
Topsoil moisture was rated 78% adequate or surplus, up from only 26% at this point last year. Subsoil moisture this year was 76% adequate or surplus, compared with 29% a year earlier, the agency said.
A nice blanket of snow is covering the winter wheat crop in much of the state after about 2 inches fell on Monday in several areas including Parsons, which saw 2.2 inches, La Crosse, where 2.1 inches fell, and Cherokee, which had almost 2 inches of snow, according to Kansas Mesonet.
Hutchinson had 1.6 inches of snowfall Monday, and McPherson saw 1.4 inches, the group said.
3. Winter Weather Advisories in Effect From Missouri Into Northeastern Michigan
Winter weather will continue today as a winter weather advisory is in effect for a stretch of land from central Missouri northeast into eastern Michigan, according to the National Weather Service.
In parts of central Missouri, another 2 inches of snow are possible today, which likely will make roads slippery, the NWS said in a report early this morning. The advisory remains in effect until 6 p.m. tonight in the region.
Another 2 to 5 inches of snow are expected in parts of northern Illinois, Indiana, and southern Michigan as the storm advisory is in effect until 1 a.m., the agency said.
“After a lull during the overnight hours, a steadier snow will overspread the region through the morning,” the NWS said on its website this morning. “The heaviest bands of snow across Illinois are expected to affect the area from midmorning through the afternoon.”
North winds are expected to accelerate to 15 to 25 mph, which will cause blowing snow, especially across rural and open areas.