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3 Big Things Today, December 28

Soybeans Higher, Corn Lower Overnight; Icahn Says Several on Team Trump Critical of Ethanol Mandate.

1. Soybeans Rise as Rain Misses Major Growing Area in Argentina, Grains Lower

Soybeans were slightly higher, while corn and wheat were lower in overnight trading on Wednesday.

Soybeans rose on reports that most of the rain forecast for Argentina in the past week missed the major growing areas of southern Buenos Aires, which accounts for almost 30% of total production in the country. Prices last week declined on forecasts for rain in the state.

Trading has been fairly muted this week, as few traders have stuck around between the holidays, making for a choppy session. Corn and wheat were down slightly in overnight trading amid ample supplies globally of both grains.

Soybean futures for March delivery rose 3¼¢ to $10.27½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal futures added $2 to $323.60 a short ton, and soy oil fell 0.10¢ to 35.30¢ a pound.

Corn futures declined 1½¢ to $3.53½ a bushel in Chicago.

Wheat futures for March delivery lost 2½¢ to $4.07 a bushel on the CBOT, and Kansas City futures fell 1½¢ to $4.17¼ a bushel.  

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2. Trump Appointee Icahn Says Several Members of Team Critical of Ethanol Mandate  

Carl Icahn, the billionaire activist investor who was recently appointed as a special adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, told Bloomberg News that there are several people within the new administration who are critical of the U.S. ethanol mandate.

Concerns about what will happen to the law once Trump takes office isn’t new. It’s been widely reported that he and members of his cabinet see little value in the mandate.

“While he hasn’t expressed opposition to renewable fuel use, there are people on the Trump team who believe ethanol itself does very little in helping the environment,” Bloomberg reported after a telephone interview with Icahn.

Trump said while campaigning in Iowa last January that he was with them “100%” and that Iowans would “get a really fair shake,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Since then, however, many of his appointees, including Icahn, who owns a small oil refinery operation, have been less than friendly toward ethanol.

Trump has nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA; Rex Tillerson, the chief executive of ExxonMobil as secretary of state; and former Texas Governor Rick Perry as energy secretary. All three have politicked against the renewable fuel standard.

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3. Strong Winds, Blowing Snow in Parts of Dakotas, Wyoming Today

A winter weather advisory has been issued as more adverse weather heads toward the Dakotas.

Wind gusts of up to 50 mph are expected to start today, which will cause blowing and drifting snow, greatly reducing visibility, the National Weather Service said in a report on Wednesday.

Strong winds also will be a problem in much of southern Wyoming, the NWS said.

“Periods of high winds of 60 mph to 65 mph are expected through the afternoon before a cold front moves through the area,” the agency said. “Winds in excess of 60 mph can result in the blowing over of lightweight high-profile vehicles. Mountain snow with strong winds will produce low wind chills and reduced visibility in higher elevations.”  

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