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3 Big Things Today, February 5

Soybeans, Grains Little Changed Overnight; Weekly Corn Inspections Fall While Beans Higher.

1. Soybeans, Grains Little Changed on Trade Uncertainty

Soybeans and grains were again little changed in the overnight session on uncertainty about a trade deal with China.

Talks last week that lasted two days in Washington by all accounts went well with both U.S. and Chinese officials expressing optimism about the possibility of coming to an agreement on trade. Since then, however, some skepticism has been expressed from both sides.

White House Economic Adviser Kevin Hassett told CNBC that there’s still a lot of work to be done but that President Donald Trump still wants a deal in place by March 1.

If one isn’t reached by then, however, Trump has said the U.S. will raise its tariff rate on more than $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% from 10%.

At this point, Hassett said, it’s unclear exactly how much progress was made during last week’s negotiations. Still, Reuters reported that Chinese state buyers purchased 1 million metric tons of soybeans, an announcement touted by Trump as China acting in good faith.

Soybeans for March delivery rose ½¢ to $9.19 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal fell 50¢ to $310.10 a short ton, and soy oil gained 0.03¢ to 30.16¢ a pound.

Corn added ¼¢ to $3.79½ a bushel overnight

Wheat for March delivery declined ½¢ to $5.25¼ a bushel, while Kansas City futures rose ¼¢ to $5.10¾ a bushel.

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2. Corn Inspections Decline Week to Week While Bean, Wheat Assessments Increase

Inspections of corn for overseas delivery declined week to week while soybean and wheat assessments improved, according to the USDA.

Corn examined by the USDA for shipment of global importers totaled 901,214 metric tons in the seven days that ended on January 31, the government said in a report. That’s down from 968,585 tons the previous week and 1.09 million tons during the same week last year.

Soybean inspections were reported at 975,775 metric tons, up from 943,480 tons the prior week, but well below the 1.3 million tons inspected at the same time in 2018, the USDA said.

Wheat assessments totaled 440,031 metric tons, up from 367,604 tons the previous week and 429,602 tons last year.

Corn inspections since the start of the marketing year on September 1 stayed well ahead of their year-earlier pace, according to the government. The USDA has inspected 22.5 million metric tons of the grain for overseas shipment, well ahead of last year’s pace of 14.9 million tons.

Soybean inspections, however, are still well behind their year-earlier pace. Government officials have assessed 21.5 million metric tons of the oilseeds for offshore delivery, down from 34.7 million at this time in 2018, according to the agency.

Wheat inspections since the start of the grain’s marketing year on June 1 are at 14.8 million metric tons, behind the 16.6 million tons inspected during the same time frame last year.

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3. Ice Storm Warning in Effect For Eastern Iowa, Northern Illinois as Freezing Rain Forecast

An ice storm warning is in effect for parts of southeastern Iowa and pretty much all of northern Illinois above Interstate 80 this morning, according to the National Weather Service.

“A winter storm will spread freezing rain and sleet across the area this afternoon and tonight,” the NWS said in a report early this morning. “Ice accumulations over ¼ inch are likely across most of eastern Iowa, northern and west-central Illinois, and far northeast Missouri.”

Snow and sleet also will fall with about 110 to 210  of an inch expected in parts of eastern Iowa and northern Illinois.

A winter weather advisory has been issued for almost all of Michigan as freezing rain, sleet, and snow are expected today, the agency said.

Wind chills will fall to 5˚F., and snow accumulations of up to 1 inch are forecast along with ice buildup of 310 of an inch, the NWS said.

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