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3 Big Things Today, February 15

Grains, Soybeans Lower Overnight; Export Inspections Continue to Show Strong Demand.

1. Grains, Beans Modestly Lower Overnight on Dollar Increase

Grain and soybean futures were slightly lower in overnight trading as the dollar sits at its highest level in more than a month.  

The value of the greenback is up again in early trading after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said in testimony yesterday that an interest rate hike in March is on the table. While the increase is still unlikely, the odds that the Fed will raise rates increased to 18% from 13% after Yellen’s speech yesterday, according to the CME Fed Watch Tool.

A more valuable dollar reduces purchasing power for overseas buyers, effectively making U.S. goods more expensive on the global market. That, in turn, may push importers of corn, beans, and wheat to other sources whose currency isn’t so strong.

Corn futures for March delivery fell 1½¢ to $3.72¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Wheat futures for March delivery declined 1¾¢ to $4.47¾ a bushel. Kansas City futures dropped 2¾¢ to $4.62½ a bushel.

Soybean futures lost 2½¢ to $10.42½ a bushel in Chicago. Soy meal declined $1.30 to $338.20 a short ton, and soy oil added 0.04¢ to 34.18¢ a pound.

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2. Export Inspections of Corn, Beans, Wheat Show Strong Demand From Overseas Buyers

Export inspections numbers may have dropped for beans and wheat last week, but the year-over-year figures tell a story of strong overseas demand this year. 

The government said in a report that it inspected 1.26 million metric tons of corn for delivery to overseas buyers last week, up from 1.12 million in the prior seven days.

Soybean inspections, meanwhile, declined to 1.15 million tons from 1.65 million the previous week, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Wheat inspections totaled 307,506 tons, less than half the prior week’s 682,840 tons.

While the week-to-week numbers were good for corn but not as impressive for beans and wheat, sales of all three commodities since the start of their respective marketing years have shown strong demand for U.S. supplies as buyers take advantage of low prices. 

The USDA has inspected 23.3 million tons of corn for shipment to overseas importers since the start of the marketing year on September 1, up from 13.1 million during the same period last year. Inspectors have examined 41.6 million tons of soybeans for export this year, up from 36 million during the same time frame last year, according to the government.

Wheat inspections since the start of the marketing year on June 1 have totaled 17.8 million tons so far, up from 14.2 million during the same time frame a year earlier, the government said.  

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3. Quiet Day in Midwest, Plains as Temperatures Expected to Rise Into Weekend

It looks to be a pretty quiet day in the Midwest and Plains Wednesday as warmer weather moves into most areas.

Temperatures in Nebraska and Iowa are expected to rise into the 60s and lower 70s the rest of the week, a far cry from storms last week. Dry conditions and westerly winds, however, increase the chance of wildfires in areas without snow cover, according to the National Weather Service.

In much of Illinois and Indiana, temperatures today will remain in the high 30s and low 40s, but they will jump to almost 70 for the weekend, the NWS said in a morning report.  

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