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3 Big Things Today, March 3

Wheat Futures Lower Overnight; Sales of Beans Rise While Grains Decline.

1. Wheat Falls After Dollar Hits Highest in Almost a Month

Wheat futures declined in overnight trading after the dollar yesterday jumped to the highest level in almost a month.

Equities earlier this week rose after President Trump’s speech in which he reiterated his plan to improve infrastructure in the U.S. and build the military, pushing the value of the greenback to its highest level against a basket of foreign currencies since early January.

A stronger dollar reduces purchasing power for overseas buyers, effectively making U.S. supplies more expensive. In general, when the currency is stronger, commodity prices tend to get weaker. Corn and soybeans also were down slightly overnight.

Wheat futures for May delivery fell 3¾¢ to $4.49 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Kansas City futures declined 3¼¢ to $4.67 a bushel.

Corn futures for May delivery lost a penny to $3.78½ a bushel in Chicago.

Soybean futures declined 2¼¢ to $10.35 a bushel overnight. Soy meal lost $2.10 to $332.70 a short ton, and soy oil dropped 0.11¢ to 34.02¢ a pound.  


2. Soybean Sales Rise Week to Week; Corn, Wheat Decline

Export sales of soybeans rose week to week, while corn and wheat declined, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Exporters sold 427,700 metric tons of soybeans for delivery in the 2016-2017 marketing year that started on September 1, the USDA said in a report. That’s up 27% from the previous week but down 23% from the prior four-week average.

China was, as usual, the biggest buyer, purchasing 207,101 metric tons, Indonesia was next on the list at 49,000 tons. Peru bought 33,600 tons, Mexico took 31,800 tons, and Japan purchased 29,800 tons, according to the USDA.

U.S. exporters sold 692,400 metric tons of corn, down 7% week over week and 24% from the previous four-week average, the government said.

Mexico was the biggest buyer at 260,200 metric tons, Japan was next at 132,900 tons, and South Korea bought 119,600 tons. Saudi Arabia took 115,500 tons and Colombia bought 101,800 tons, according to the agency.

Wheat sales for delivery in the marketing year that ends on May 31 totaled 353,200 metric tons, down 22% from the prior week and 28% from the previous four-week average, the government said.

Mexico led with purchases of 64,500 tons, the Philippines was next on the list at 58,100 tons, and Japan bought 56,000 tons. Algeria bought 50,000 tons and Guatemala took 29,000 tons, according to the USDA.

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3. Dry Weather Increases Risks of Wildfires in Parts of Southern Plains

Things aren’t looking much rosier in the Southern Plains than they did yesterday with a red-flag warning in effect for much of southwestern Kansas and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles this morning.

Humidity as low as 12%, winds gusting up to 35 mph, and warm weather make for extremely dangerous conditions, according to the National Weather Service. The red-flag warning, which means conditions are ripe for wildfires, is in effect until 7 p.m. Friday.

“A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures will create favorable weather for rapid fire growth and spread,” the NWS said in a report this morning. “Avoid activities that promote open flames and sparks.”

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