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3 Big Things Today, January 4

Grains, Beans Little Changed Overnight; Export Inspections Show Popularity of U.S. Supplies.

1. Corn, Wheat, Soybeans Little Changed in Overnight Trading in Chicago

Corn, wheat, and soybeans were little changed in overnight trading as investors weigh strong demand against a global glut of all three commodities.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Export Inspections Report on Tuesday showed that shipments of all three crops are well above where they were a year ago as overseas buyers have snapped up low-cost supplies.

Still, domestic growers last year produced a record amount of both corn and soybeans after favorable weather during the growing season. It likely will take some time to work through all of the supplies farmers collected in 2016.

Recent rainfall in parts of Argentina and Brazil has boosted crop prospects in the countries, among the largest producers of corn and soybeans, which likely will add to the global glut.

Corn futures for March delivery were unchanged at $3.55¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

March soybeans added ¾¢ to $9.95¾ a bushel overnight in Chicago. Soy meal futures lost 10¢ to $312 a short ton, and soy oil futures added 0.05¢ to 34.86¢ a pound.

Wheat for March delivery in Chicago lost 1¼¢ to $4.05¼ a bushel, and Kansas City futures rose a penny to $4.15 a bushel.

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2. Export Inspections Show U.S. Among Lowest-Cost Suppliers of Grains, Beans

It’s a well-known fact that export sales of corn, beans, and wheat are going well, but it’s not just sales. Actual shipments of the crops are up year over year.

In the case of corn, exports aren’t just up, they’re almost double what they were last year. Since the start of the marketing year on September 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has inspected 17.1 million metric tons of the grain for overseas shipment, it said in a report. That’s up 79% from the same time frame a year ago.

Soybean inspections have jumped 18% year over year to 33 million metric tons since September 1, according to the government. China has been the biggest buyer of U.S. beans, taking advantage of low prices amid a global glut of the oilseeds.

Inspections of wheat since the start of the grain’s marketing year on June 1 are up to 15.5 million metric tons from 12.2 million during the same period a year ago, according to the USDA. As with corn and beans, overseas buyers have been buying up cheap U.S. supplies.

The good news is that while export sales can always be canceled (it’s quite common to see overseas buyers cancel sales of millions of tons of corn, beans, and wheat), these exports can’t, lending proof to the fact that the U.S. is among the cheapest suppliers of all three commodities at this point.

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3. Snow Expected in Midwest; Low Temperatures Forecast For Southern Plains

Winter weather is expected to push into eastern Nebraska and western Iowa starting this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

The front is part of a larger winter weather advisory that stretches from the Rockies well into southern Illinois, weather maps show. In parts of southeastern Nebraska and southwestern Iowa, the storm may drop as much as 3 inches of snow starting this evening.

That could make travel difficult, the NWS said in a report on Wednesday morning.

More cold weather is expected in the Southern Plains where hard red wheat is overwintering. Temperatures likely will range from 35˚F. to 45˚F. in the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas, but wind chills could drop as low as -10˚F. overnight.

The good news for growers whose fields aren’t yet covered is that as much as 5 inches of snow is expected later this week.

“Snow will likely begin late Thursday afternoon and evening and will persist until Friday afternoon,” the NWS said. “Storm total amounts could range from 1 to 3 inches across the majority of the Texas and eastern Oklahoma panhandles with 3- to 5-inch totals possible for the northwestern Texas and western Oklahoma panhandles.”

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