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3 Big Things Today, January 27

Corn, Soybeans Lower in Overnight Trading; Export Sales of Grains Higher, Beans Drop.

1. Corn, Soybeans Decline on Worries About Trade War

Corn and soybeans were lower in overnight trading on further concerns about trade after President Trump said he would impose a 20% tax on goods imported from Mexico to pay for the wall he plans to build on the border, potentially sparking a trade war.

Analysts, investors, and farm groups have expressed concern that if the 20% levy is approved and imposed, Mexico will retaliate by putting its own import tax on U.S. goods, effectively reducing the appeal of American agricultural products.  

Mexico is the U.S.’s third-largest trade partner – exports from the U.S. totaled $236 billion in 2015 while imports totaled $295 billion, according to the U.S. Trade Representative. Of that, $18 billion was agricultural products including $2.3 billion worth of corn, USTR data show.

Corn futures for March delivery fell 1¢ to $3.62¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Soybean futures declined 4½¢ to $10.45 a bushel. Soy meal futures lost $1 to $341.40 a short ton, and soy oil fell 0.22¢ to 34.25¢ a pound.

Wheat for March delivery fell a penny to $4.26 a bushel in Chicago, while Kansas City futures declined ¾¢ to $4.39½ a bushel.


2. Sales of Corn Up Slightly Week to Week, Soybeans Plunge

Sales of corn were up week over week, while soybean sales plunged, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Corn sales totaled 1.37 million metric tons in the week that ended on January 19, up 2% from the prior week and 63% from the previous four-week average, the USDA said in a report. Unknown buyers were the biggest purchasers at 358,000 tons. Japan bought 292,000 tons, Colombia took 171,800 tons, Mexico purchased 169,700 tons, and South Korea bought 138,100 tons.

Soybean sales were reported at 539,400 tons, a 45% decline from the prior week and a 10% drop from the average, according to the USDA. China was, as usual, the biggest buyer at 351,500 tons, Mexico was next at 167,800 tons, South Korea bought 156,300 tons, Indonesia took 21,700 tons, and Japan purchased 20,700 tons, the department said.

Wheat sales jumped to a marketing year high of 853,400 tons. Unknown buyers took 212,300 tons, Morocco bought 210,000 tons, Indonesia bought 140,000 tons, Mexico secured 84,400 tons, and China took 60,000 tons, according to the USDA.

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3. Intermittent Snow Expected in Parts of Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky

The weather maps are mostly quiet this morning, though parts of Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky all may see some snow heading into the weekend.

“Scattered snow showers will continue to produce minor snow accumulations this morning,” in parts of the three states, the National Weather Service said in a report on Friday morning. “This light snow, combined with some light snow that fell overnight, will result in icy spots on untreated roadways and sidewalks.”

The snow is expected to be intermittent through early next week, said the NWS, which is advising motorists to use caution as roadways may be slick.

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