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3 Big Things Today, March 19

Soybeans, Corn Again Little Changed; Inspections of Grains, Beans Decline Week to Week.

1. Soybeans, Corn Remain Little Changed Overnight

Soybeans and corn were again little changed overnight as the U.S. and China continue to talk trade without giving much insight into if or when a deal might be struck.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Bloomberg Television that an agreement will be signed “hopefully soon.” Negotiations often take years, so talks have been going on a relatively short time, he said.

Negotiators have been dealing with nontariff barriers including biotechnology and enforceability rules that outline consequences for noncompliance, he said.

“(Tariffs) are one tool for enforcement and hopefully the Chinese will understand that,” Perdue said. “If you comply with your agreement, you don’t have to worry about it. But if you don’t, there will be consequences.”

He wouldn’t give much detail on what’s being discussed in terms of agriculture, but said it’s the “easiest” way for China to reduce the trade deficit because ag products are something the country must have.

President Donald Trump said last week that he was in no hurry to close a deal, for which a March 1 deadline came and went.

Soybeans for March delivery fell 2¼¢ to $9.03½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal lost 40¢ to $309.40 a short ton, and soy oil dropped 0.05¢ to 29.39¢ a pound.

Corn for March delivery rose ¼¢ to $3.71¾ a bushel in Chicago.

Wheat for March delivery gained 3¢ to $4.59¾ a bushel, while Kansas City futures added 3¾¢ to $4.40¼ a bushel.

**

2. Grain, Bean Inspections All Decline Week to Week in Seven Days Through March 14

Inspections of corn, soybeans, and wheat all declined week to week in the seven days that ended on March 14, according to the USDA.

Corn assessments totaled 795,241 metric tons, down from 803,351 tons the previous week, the USDA said in a report. That’s also down from 1.44 million tons inspected during the same week a year earlier.

Soybean examinations were reported at 841,888 metric tons, down from 887,760 tons the previous week, but well higher than the 500,452 tons assessed during the same seven-day period in 2018, government data show.

Wheat inspections totaled 353,727 metric tons last week, down from 611,955 tons in the prior seven days and 444,806 tons the same week a year earlier, the USDA said.

Corn inspections since the start of the marketing year on September 1 are now at 27.4 million metric tons, still ahead of the year-earlier pace of 21.8 million tons. Soybean inspections, meanwhile, are still well behind at 27.7 million tons compared with 40.2 million tons at this time in 2018.

Wheat inspections since the start of the grain’s marketing year on June 1 are at 18 million metric tons, down from 19.2 million at this time last year, the USDA said.

**

3. Flood Warnings Remain in Effect in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri After Rainfall, Snow Melt

Flood warnings are still in effect this morning for much of eastern Nebraska and several waterways in South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana, according to the National Weather Service.

The Missouri River at Brownsville, Nebraska, just south of Omaha, was at 43.9 feet as of about 4:15 a.m., well above flood stage of 34 feet. The river will continue to rise to almost 45 feet by early Thursday morning before it begins to fall.

Near Blair, Nebraska, where flood stage is 26.5 feet, the river is at 31 feet, the agency said. The good news there is that the waters are receding and likely will continue to fall below flood stage, but not until Friday morning. Floodwaters are impacting Interstate 29 and Interstate 680.

In Iowa, meanwhile, several rivers and streams are overflowing their banks.

The Mississippi River near New Boston, Iowa, was at 19.4 feet and steady as of Monday evening, above flood stage of 15 feet. At Dubuque, it was at 15.7 feet and rising. Flood stage is at 17 feet, and the river is expected to rise to 17.5 feet by Saturday morning, the NWS said.

The Mississippi River also is flooded along the Missouri-Illinois border south to the Gulf of Mexico.

“The flood warning is a result of heavy rain and snowmelt in the Mississippi River basin over the past two weeks,” the NWS said.

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