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3 Big Things Today, April 13

Soybean, Grain Futures Rise Overnight; Ethanol Production Drops to Six-Month Low.

1. Soybeans, Grains Rise as Dollar Slumps on Trump Comments

Soybeans jumped and grains gained in overnight trading after comments by President Donald Trump caused a sharp decline in the dollar.

The greenback is down 0.4% this morning after the president said yesterday that its value was “too strong” and said China wasn’t a currency manipulator. The dollar fell to a five-month low against the yen.

A weaker dollar gives overseas buyers more purchasing power, and investors believe the currency’s decline in value will spur demand for U.S. agricultural products.

Soybean futures rose 10½¢ to $9.58¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal gained $4.40 to $317.10 a short ton, and soy oil added 0.14¢ to 31.38¢ a pound.

Corn futures rose 2¢ to $3.71 a bushel in Chicago.

Wheat futures for May delivery added 2¢ to $4.35¼ a bushel, while Kansas City wheat gained 1¾¢ to $4.31¾ a bushel.

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2. Ethanol Production Drops to Lowest Since October; DDG Prices Drop on China Trade

Ethanol production slumped to the lowest level in six months last week even as inventories declined week over week.

Output of the biofuel averaged 986 barrels a day in the week ended on April 7, the lowest since early October, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Stockpiles of ethanol last week totaled 22.9 million barrels, down from 23.7 million seven days earlier and the lowest in three weeks, the EIA said in its weekly report.

Meanwhile, the price of dried distillers grains (DDGs) has plummeted after China, the main importer of the animal feed, raised duties on the leftovers of corn after the ethanol production process.

China’s purchases of DDGs have dropped almost 70% in the six months that ended in February vs. the same time frame a year earlier, according to data from Bloomberg. The spot price of DDGs are down by 47% from June, the lowest for that time of year in a decade, the data show.

It’s not all bad news, however, as spot prices have reportedly rebounded – albeit only slightly – in the past couple of weeks as facilities shut for annual maintenance.

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3. Thunderstorms Possible For Nebraska, Illinois, Michigan Into the Long Weekend

Thunderstorms are possible this afternoon in much of the eastern half of Nebraska, though they’re not expected to be strong.

The threat of storms will continue into the weekend and possibly into early next week, according to the National Weather Service. Rains may delay corn planting, which is ramping up in the area.

Flooding is still an issue, though a somewhat minor one, in parts of Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan today, and another round of storms is moving into the area. There’s a chance of an isolated thunderstorm in parts of Illinois tonight and Friday, the NWS said in an early forecast.

The same storm is expected to bring scattered thunderstorms to much of southern Michigan this weekend.

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