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3 Big Things Today, December 30

Soybeans, Corn Little Changed Ahead of New Year; Ethanol Production, Stocks Fall For Second Week.

1. Soybeans, Grains Little Changed Heading Into Year’s Last Trading Session

Soybeans, corn, and wheat were all little changed in overnight trading amid light trading heading into the last business day of 2016.

Investors likely won’t want to get too long or too short before heading into the three-day weekend and the new year. It’s been a volatile month, as traders weigh strong demand for U.S. products against ample supplies.

Sales of soybeans since the start of the marketing year on September 1 are up 27% vs. the same period in 2015, while corn sales have jumped 76% year over year, according to the USDA. Wheat sales since the start of the marketing year on June 1 are up 32% compared with a year earlier, USDA data show.

Still, supplies are ample, as U.S. growers likely produced record corn and bean crops this year.

Soybean futures for March delivery fell ½¢ to $10.12¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal futures lost 60¢ to $318.40 a short ton, and soy oil rose 0.10¢ to 34.89¢ a pound.

Corn futures lost 1¾¢ to $3.48 a bushel in Chicago.

Wheat futures for March delivery added 1¼¢ to $4.06 a bushel on the CBOT, and Kansas City futures lost 1¼¢ to $4.14 a bushel.  

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2. Ethanol Production, Stockpiles Decline Second Consecutive Week, EIA Says

Ethanol production fell for a second straight week, while stockpiles dropped to the lowest in three weeks, according to the Energy Department.

Output of the biofuel declined to a daily average of 1.028 million barrels a day in the week that ended on December 23, the Energy Information Administration said in a report.

That’s down 0.7% from the prior week, the second consecutive weekly decline after production reached a record 1.04 million barrels a day in the week that ended on December 9, EIA data show.

Inventories of ethanol also fell for a second straight week to 18.7 million barrels, down from 19.1 million in the seven days that ended on December 16, according to the administration. The total is the lowest since the week that ended on December 2.

Despite the week’s declines, the four-week average for output averaged 1.03 million barrels a day, and the annualized rate of 15.8 billion gallons are both records, according to the EIA.

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3. Red Flag Warning Issued for Parts of Oklahoma Amid Low Humidity, Strong Winds

A red flag warning has been issued for much of Oklahoma as extremely dry weather sets in.

Temperatures are forecast to be as high as 60˚ with extremely low relative humidity of 17% to 23%, and wind gusts are expected to reach as high as 41 mph, creating critical fire conditions, the National Weather Service office in Norman, Oklahoma, said in a report on Friday.

About eight counties in extreme north Texas are included in the warning, according to the NWS. It does not include the panhandles of either state.

The red flag warning is in effect from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time today “for windy conditions and low relative humidity,” the agency said.

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