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3 Big Things Today, May 23

Wheat Futures Rise Overnight; Ethanol Production Hits Highest Level Since End of August.

1. Wheat Higher on Adverse Southern Plains, Canada Weather

Wheat futures were higher in overnight trading, as severe weather may lead to flooding in parts of the Southern Plains.

Showers and thunderstorms are expected in the region today and tonight, the National Weather Service said. Flooding is in the forecast in some areas, along with large hail in others.

Quality and lodging concerns will persist in parts of Kansas and Oklahoma wheat country, according to Commodity Weather Group. There’s also some cold weather that may cause “spotty” damage in Colorado, the forecaster said in a report.

“(A) wetter Southern Plains trend adds to wheat damage threat,” CWG said.

The Canadian wheat crop has the opposite problem, as the lack of rain is now threatening plants, the forecaster said.

Still, winter wheat in the U.S. was 64% good or excellent as of Sunday, up from 36% at the same time last year, the government said.

Wheat for May delivery rose 5½¢ to $4.78¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City wheat gained 4¢ to $4.36¼ a bushel.

Soybeans for May delivery fell 1¼¢ to $8.27¼ a bushel. Soy meal added 60¢ to $298.90 a short ton, and soy oil lost 0.19¢ to 27.12¢ a pound.

Corn futures for May delivery rose 1½¢ to $3.96 a bushel overnight.

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2. Ethanol Production Jumps to Highest Level in Almost Nine Months

Ethanol production in the seven days that ended on May 17 jumped to the highest level in almost nine months. Inventories also rose.

Output last week was reported at an average 1.071 million barrels a day, up from 1.051 million the previous week and the most since the seven days that ended on August 31, according to the Energy Information Administration.

In the Midwest, by far the biggest producer of the biofuel, production averaged 993,000 barrels a day, up from 978,000 the previous week. That’s also the highest since the end of August, the EIA said in a report.

The Gulf Coast also saw a jump as output rose to 24,000 barrels a day, on average, from 19,000 a week earlier. East Coast production was unchanged at 21,000 barrels a day, while Rocky Mountain producers held the course at 13,000 barrels, government data show.

The lone decliner for the week was West Coast output, which fell to 19,000 barrels a day, on average, from 20,000 the prior week.

Stockpiles, meanwhile, rose to 23.404 million barrels as of May 17, up from 22.25 million seven days earlier and the most since the seven days that ended on March 29, according to the EIA.

In other news, the USDA is scheduled to release its Weekly Export Sales Report this morning. Analysts are expecting corn sales in a wide range from 250,000 to 1.05 million metric tons, soybean sales from 100,000 to 800,000 tons, and wheat sales from zero to 700,000 tons, according to researcher Allendale.

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3. Severe Storms Remain Centered on Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois

Severe storms are expected to continue today in parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri, according to the National Weather Service.

A flash flood warning is in effect for several counties in southern Missouri this morning, as up to 2 inches of rain have already fallen with another 2 inches on the way, the NWS said in a report early this morning. Flash flooding is expected to begin shortly.

A flash flood warning is also in place in several counties in central Illinois, where as much as 2 inches of rain have already fallen, and thunderstorms will bring more.

Storms in the southern Midwest also are capable of producing isolated tornadoes, large hail, and damaging winds, the agency said. Major flooding is expected in the next seven days along the Missouri, Mississippi, and Illinois rivers.

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