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3 Big Things Today, January 5

Soybeans Lower in Overnight Trading; China Renminbi's Strength May Be Growers' Gain.

1. Soybeans Lower in Overnight Trading Amid Prospects For Large South American Crop

Soybeans fell in overnight trading Thursday as more rain falls in parts of South America, boosting prospects for large crops in Argentina and Brazil. Grains were little changed.

Rain is likely to continue falling in parts of Argentina in the next six to 10 days, and precipitation is expected to ease dryness in northern Brazil through the end of January, Commodity Weather Group said in a report.

Domestic growers last year harvested a record amount of both corn and soybeans after favorable weather during the growing season. U.S. farmers produced 15.2 billion bushels of corn and 4.36 billion bushels of soybeans, both record highs, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Soybeans for March delivery fell 5¼¢ to $10.10 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal futures lost $2.40 to $316.70 a short ton, and soy oil futures rose 0.09¢ to 35.30¢ a pound.

Corn futures for March delivery fell ½¢ to $3.59¼ a bushel overnight in Chicago.

Wheat for March delivery in Chicago lost ½¢ to $4.18 a bushel, and Kansas City futures lost a penny to $4.25½ a bushel.

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2. China Currency’s Biggest Two-Day Gain Ever May be Good For U.S. Exporters

The Chinese renminbi – the country’s currency – just had its biggest two-day gain on record, and that’s good news for America’s farmers.

The currency gained almost 3% in intraday trading against the dollar on Wednesday, reaching its strongest level against the greenback in almost two months. The move is a marked change from recent valuations in which the renminbi, also known as the yuan, was at its weakest.

A strong yuan against the dollar improves purchasing power for Chinese buyers who have, at least since the start of the marketing year on September 1, been snapping up U.S. soybeans. The combination of inexpensive oilseeds and a strong renminbi may mean increased purchases by China.

The big question on everybody’s minds is can the yuan hold gains against the dollar or is this run-up temporary? Analysts said strong economic data have led to the bullishness on the yuan, but that some of it occurred amid thin holiday trading, which won’t last.

Still, the move higher may have left some currency traders, who were betting on the renminbi to decline further, to exit their positions and perhaps stay away for a while.

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3. Winter Weather Advisory Issued From Kansas to East Coast

A winter weather advisory has been issued for a large chunk of the southern Midwest on Thursday as snow and wind are expected.

The storm stretches from eastern Kansas almost all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, according to the National Weather Service. In parts of downstate Illinois and southern Indiana, as much as 4 inches of snow are expected to fall this week, the NWS said.

The snow may cause some roads to be slick, making travel difficult, the agency said.

In the Southern Plains, high temperatures are expected to top out only at about 20˚F. in the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, according to the NWS. That puts any uncovered hard red winter wheat at risk of winterkill.

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