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3 Big Things Today, February 8

Beans, Grains Higher Overnight; USDA Releases Export Sales Report For End of December.

1. Soybeans, Grains Rebound on Bargain Hunting

Soybeans and grains were modestly higher after yesterday’s sell-off, as bargain hunters are more optimistic about trade than their bearish counterparts.

Beans lost almost 9¢, corn was down more than 3¢, and wheat lost about 13¢ on Thursday on skepticism about a trade deal between the U.S. and China. President Trump yesterday confirmed a report that he likely won’t meet with China President Xi Jinping before the March 1 deadline.

Still, advisers continue to say the president is optimistic about a trade deal. Talks last week in Washington went well, government officials on both sides said.

U.S. Trade Representative and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are headed to Beijing next week to continue the high-level talks, but Trump has said he will be the one who makes a final deal.

It’s now unclear whether the U.S. will raise its tariff rate on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% from their current level of 10% if no trade deal is made by the deadline.

Soybeans for March delivery rose 1¢ to $9.14¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal gained $1.40 to $306.90 a short ton, and soy oil fell 0.2¢ to 30.61¢ a pound.

Corn added 1¼¢ to $3.77¾ a bushel overnight.

Wheat futures for March delivery rose 2½¢ to $5.15¾ a bushel, while Kansas City futures gained 1¢ to $4.97¼ a bushel.


2. USDA Releases Export Sales Report For End of December; Corn, Bean Sales Decline

The USDA is back to reporting export sales on a weekly basis, releasing its report for the week that ended on December 27.

Corn sales during the week totaled 503,100 metric tons, down 70% from the previous week and 65% from the prior four-week average, the government said.

Mexico was the big buyer at 159,000 metric tons, followed by Colombia at 154,600 tons, and Peru at 152,500 tons, the USDA said. South Korea was in for 72,800 tons, and Guatemala took 40,200 tons. An unknown customer canceled a shipment for 133,700 tons, and Thailand nixed a cargo of 24,000 tons.

Soybean sales totaled 1.05 million metric tons in the seven days through December 27, down 56% from the previous week and 39% from the average.

China was back in the mix, taking 808,000 tons. Spain bought 171,300 tons, the Netherlands took 84,500 tons, Egypt purchased 52,400 tons, and Bangladesh was in for 60,800 tons. An unknown country canceled a purchase of 384,500 tons, the USDA said.

Wheat sales were the sole gainer of the big three crops, rising 15% week to week and 3% from the average to 593,000 metric tons at the end of December.

Mexico bought 135,300 tons, the Philippines took 75,800 tons, Peru purchased 70,000 tons, Indonesia was in for 68,000 tons, and Iraq bought 50,000 tons. Malaysia canceled a cargo for 14,700 tons, according to the government.

The USDA will release its report for the week through January 3 next Thursday and then will have a combined report for the January 10 to February 14 period on February 22.


3. Dangerous Wind Chills Return as North Dakota Expected to See -60˚F. Today

Dangerous wind chills are back as all of North Dakota and parts of Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa are under warnings, according to the National Weather Service.  

In North Dakota, wind chills this morning are expected to be as low as -60˚F., the NWS said in a report early this morning. The cold weather will persist with wind chills as low as -40˚F. through Saturday morning.

Temperatures that low can cause frostbite in as little as five minutes.

In northern Iowa, the wind chills are expected to fall to around -35˚F. today, the agency said.

A wind chill advisory is in effect for surrounding states including Nebraska, the rest of Iowa, Wisconsin, and parts of northern Illinois, according to the NWS.

Farther east, flood warnings have been issued for much of central Indiana this morning. Up to 4 inches of rain fall in a short time Thursday, which combined with precipitation on Wednesday resulted in widespread flooding.

The good news is that the water is expected to recede today, the agency said.

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