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3 Big Things Today, March 28

Wheat Futures Fall Overnight; Weekly Ethanol Production Declines, Stockpiles Surge.

1. Wheat Futures Fall Overnight on Profit-Taking

Wheat futures were lower in overnight trading as investors who held long positions, or bets on higher prices, took profits and sold their contracts after prices yesterday reached the highest in a month.

Prices yesterday reached the one-month high but then fell back on profit-taking.

Fundamentally not much has changed in wheat, though there is a slight chance of thunderstorms in parts of western Kansas where hard red winter varieties are growing.

Soybean futures, meanwhile, were higher as talks between the U.S. and China resume today.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are in Beijing for high-level negotiations. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is scheduled to visit Washington next week.

Traders are cautiously optimistic that the sides will eventually reach a deal, though negotiations have dragged on longer than expected.

Wheat futures for May delivery dropped 6¼¢ to $4.63¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City wheat declined 5½¢ to $4.39 a bushel.

Soybeans rose 3¢ to $8.90½ a bushel overnight. Soy meal gained $1.50 to $305.90 a short ton, and soy oil fell 0.08¢ to 28.74¢ a pound.

Corn futures for May delivery added ¼¢ to $3.74 a bushel in Chicago.

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2. Ethanol Production Plunges in Seven Days Through March 22, Stockpiles Hit New Record High

Ethanol production in the U.S. plunged in the week that ended on March 22 while stockpiles surged to a fresh record high, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Output of the biofuel fell to an average of 975,000 barrels a day last week, the lowest since the seven days that ended on February 1 and down from 1.004 million barrels the previous week, the EIA said in a report.

In the Midwest, by far the biggest producing area, output averaged 904,000 barrels a day, down from 935,000 the previous week. Production in the Gulf Coast region rose to 14,000 barrels a day, on average, to 14,000, the agency said.

East Coast output was unchanged at 25,000 barrels a day, Rocky Mountain production stayed at 12,000 barrels a day, and West Coast producers put out an average of 19,000 barrels a day last week.

Stockpiles, meanwhile, rose to a fresh all-time high in the week through March 22.

Inventories totaled 24.448 million barrels, up from 24.412 million seven days earlier, according to the EIA.

In other news, the weekly Export Sales Report is due at 8:30 a.m. in Washington. Analysts are expecting corn sales from 700,000 to 1.35 million metric tons, soybean sales from 500,000 to 1 million tons, and wheat sales from 300,000 to 650,000 tons, according to researcher Allendale.

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3. Floods Stretching from Dakotas to Gulf of Mexico Dominate Weather Maps Thursday Morning  

Flooding in the Midwest continues to be the major theme on weather maps this morning, as rivers and streams continue to overflow their banks in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri.

In North Dakota, about a dozen rivers are under a flood warning including the Mississippi, Minnesota, and Yellow rivers, the NWS said.

Farther south in Missouri, the Missouri River at Leavenworth was at 25.8 feet as of about 4 a.m. this morning, well above flood stage of 20 feet, the agency said. At Jefferson City, the river was at 26.4 feet as of yesterday evening, topping flood stage of 23 feet.  

The Mississippi River, meanwhile, is swollen from Iowa south to the Gulf of Mexico. At Memphis, the river was at 35.2 feet, topping flood stage of 34 feet, the NWS said.

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