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3 Big Things Today, March 22

Corn, Wheat Futures Higher Overnight; Export Sales of Grains Within Expectations.

1. Corn, Wheat Higher Overnight on Weather Concerns

Corn and wheat futures were higher in overnight trading amid concerns about flooded areas in the Midwest.

Dozens of towns were under water in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa along with millions of acres of farmland. While rivers in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri are receding, the water hasn’t gone away.

Flood warnings are in effect along the Mississippi River and its tributaries from Iowa south to the Gulf of Mexico. The river is over its banks in several spots and likely won’t fall below flood level in some areas until late next week, according to the National Weather Service.

Corn in storage in areas affected by the floods will likely have to be destroyed and not sold, reducing supplies, and some are worried that producers won’t be able to put crops into those areas as planting season approaches.

Market-watchers also are keeping an eye on trade talks between the U.S. and China.

President Donald Trump this week said negotiations were “coming along nicely” but also said the U.S. wouldn’t end tariffs on Chinese goods for a “substantial period” of time. Traders, producers, and analysts have been on edge in recent weeks as the talks drag on.

Corn futures for May delivery rose 2½¢ to $3.78¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Soybeans were unchanged at $9.10½ a bushel in Chicago. Soy meal rose 50¢ to $315.80 a short ton, and soy oil declined 0.08¢ to 29.02¢ a pound.

Wheat for May delivery rose 3 ¼¢ to $4.69¾ a bushel, while Kansas City futures gained 2¾¢ to $4.49¾ a bushel.


2. Weekly Corn, Wheat Exports Sales Within Expectations, Soybeans Fall Short

Sales of corn and wheat to overseas buyers were within trade expectations, while soybeans missed forecasts amid a slowdown in buying from China.

Corn sales for the 2018-2019 marketing year that ends on August 31 totaled 855,900 metric tons in the week through March 14, according to the USDA.

Japan was the big buyer for the week at 346,800 metric tons, followed by South Korea at 193,500 tons, and Mexico at 127,400 tons, the USDA said in a report. Taiwan was in for 93,000 tons, and Guatemala bought 32,200 tons.

For the 2019-2020 marketing year, Japan bought 60,000 tons.

Researcher Allendale said analysts were expected total combined sales from 600,000 to 1.3 million metric tons.

Wheat sales for the current marketing year that ends on May 31 totaled 298,600 metric tons, the USDA said. South Korea was in for 75,500 tons, Sri Lanka took 65,000 tons, Japan bought 38,500 tons, Mexico purchased 35,300 tons, and Taiwan took 29,300 tons.

For the year that starts on June 1, sales totaled 138,800 tons as the Philippines bought 43,500 tons, Colombia took 27,000 tons, Nigeria bought 24,000 tons, and Mexico purchased 22,300 tons, U.S. government data show.

Analysts had expected total sales from 300,000 to 675,000 tons, Allendale said.

Soybean sales for the 2018-2019 marketing year that also ends on August 31 totaled 399,500 metric tons as China only bought 142,600 metric tons. That was the second-most for the week behind Germany, which purchased 155,900 tons, the USDA said.

Egypt was in for 88,700 tons, Japan bought 70,200 tons, and the Netherlands took 63,300 tons.

For the 2019-2020 year, reductions were reported of 64,400 tons as China canceled a shipment of 65,000 tons, the government said.

Analysts had pegged soybean sales from 600,000 to 1.75 million metric tons.


3. Snow Continues to Melt in North Dakota, Flood Warnings Persist on Missouri, Mississippi Rivers

Snow melt on rivers and streams in much of eastern North Dakota has been “favorable” for the past week as temperatures warmed above freezing during the day before dropping at night, and warmer temperatures are on the way for the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

“These temperatures will continue to further ripen the snowpack and even allow some water to begin ponding and moving into local drainage,” the NWS said in a report. “These conditions will most likely be seen across the far southern Red River Valley and into portions of west-central Minnesota where the warmest temperatures are expected.”

The warm weather will be short-lived, however, as temperatures will again fall on Sunday into the first half of next week, the agency said. Minor amounts of precipitation are expected next week, but for now “full-blown river flooding and extensive overland flooding is not expected as we head into the first half of next week.”

Farther south, flood warnings continue as rivers and tributaries recede.

The Missouri River is still above flood stage in several parts of Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri, and the Mississippi River continues to flood all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, according to the NWS.

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