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3 Big Things Today, January 28

Soybeans Lower Overnight; Government Reopens But USDA Time Line Unknown.

1. Soybeans Fall Overnight on U.S.-China Trade Concerns

Soybeans were lower in overnight trading Monday amid ongoing concerns about upcoming trade talks with China.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is scheduled to visit Washington on January 30-31 for two days of trade talks with top U.S. officials including Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

It’s unlikely that a deal will be reached during the talks as the sides are still “miles and miles” apart on any agreement, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said last week. That sentiment shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody paying attention, as there’s a lot the countries still need to agree upon, he said.

Among the sticking points is the large U.S. trade deficit that jumped to $323.3 billion in 2018, according to Chinese data.

The U.S. and China have a temporary deal agreed upon by President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping in early December under which Washington has delayed raising tariff rates to 25% from 10% and Beijing agreed to purchase more agricultural products and curb levies on American automobiles.

Michael Pillsbury, the director for the Center for Chinese Strategy at the Hudson Institute, who reportedly has the ear of President Trump, also said he doesn’t expect negotiators to come to a trade agreement during the talks.

Soybeans for March delivery fell 3¼¢ to $9.22 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal lost $1.50 to $312.40 a short ton, and soy oil gained 0.12¢ to 30.15¢ a pound.

Corn rose ½¢ to $3.80¾ a bushel overnight

Wheat for March delivery rose 1¾¢ to $5.21¾ a bushel, while Kansas City futures gained 2¾¢ to $5.12¼ a bushel. 

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Today’s 3 Big Things from Successful Farming magazine is brought to you by Golden Harvest Seeds.

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2. Government Reopens, Time line on Resumption of USDA Reports Still Unknown

The government is officially reopened, at least for now, but exactly when data will begin rolling out remains to be seen as workers, no doubt, have a large backlog of work waiting for them.

The 35-day shutdown, by far the longest in history, left producers, analysts, and traders without vital information. The weekly and monthly export sales reports and the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Report weren’t released.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a statement on Friday, when President Trump said he agreed to reopen the government for three weeks – until February 15 – to work on a deal with Democrats who refused to fund his $5.7 billion border wall, thousands of USDA employees will return to work with the agreement in place.

“I extend my sincere thanks to the thousands of USDA workers who stayed on the job during the shutdown to offer as many of our normal activities as we could,” Perdue said. “The president has already signed legislation that guarantees backpay for all employees, and we will move forward on that as soon as possible. Meanwhile, we will prepare for a smooth reestablishment of USDA functions.”

The USDA reopened its Farm Service Agency offices last week. It’s likely the agency will release its monthly WASDE Report on February 8 as scheduled, Sara Manker, the chief executive of Gro Intelligence, a data and analytics company.

Workers and market-watchers aren’t out of the woods yet. Trump said if a deal with Congress isn’t reached by February 15, the government will shut down again or he’ll attempt to “use the powers afforded to me” to fund his border wall.

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Today’s 3 Big Things from Successful Farming magazine is brought to you by Golden Harvest Seeds.

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3. ‘Take Cold Seriously,’ NWS Advises as Wind Chills Forecast as Low -60˚F.

Extremely cold weather along with snowfall is expected in much of the upper central Midwest starting today.

Wind chills in parts of Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, northern Illinois, and Michigan are forecast to be as low as -60˚F., according to the National Weather Service. As much as 3 inches of snow is possible.

“Dangerous temperatures and wind chills are also expected across the entire area tonight into Thursday,” the NWS said in a report early this morning. “Take this cold seriously.”

Total snowfall amounts over the next several days across central Wisconsin, where most of the precipitation will fall, are expected to top out at about 8 inches, the agency said.

In Michigan, up to 11 inches of snow are expected along with winds that will cause blowing and drifting, reducing visibility. Snow will fall at a rate of an inch to 2 inches an hour between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Travel is not advised.

Wind chills in the state are expected to fall as low as -45˚F. by Wednesday, the NWS said.

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