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3 Big Things Today, March 30

Soybean Futures Lower in Overnight Trading; Ethanol Output, Stocks Increase.

1. Soybeans Lower Overnight as U.S. Exporters Battle With Brazil

Soybean futures declined overnight as the battle for exports between the U.S. and Brazil heats up.

The countries are now officially fighting for customers, who likely will go to whichever supplier offers the lowest price. Prices at ports in the Gulf of Mexico are reportedly nearing five-year lows as exporters attempt to attract overseas buyers.

Meanwhile, production in Brazil is expected to jump to a record, with some state and private forecasters saying output could total as much as 111 million metric tons. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has pegged Brazilian production at 108 million tons.

The U.S. is still the big kid on the block, expected to produce 117.2 million tons, according to the USDA.

Soybean futures fell 4¢ to $9.65 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal was unchanged at $315.80 a short ton, and soy oil dropped 0.45¢ to 31.76¢ a pound.

Corn lost a penny to $3.57½ a bushel in Chicago.

Wheat futures for May delivery fell 1¼¢ to $4.24¼ a bushel in Chicago. Kansas City wheat declined ¼¢ to $4.23¼ a bushel.

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2. U.S. Ethanol Production Highest in Seven Weeks, Stockpiles Second Highest Ever

U.S. ethanol production rose to the highest level in seven weeks, which is good news for corn growers.

Output in the week that ended on March 24 totaled 1.054 million barrels and day, on average, the highest since the seven days through February 3, according to the Energy Information Administration. Production was up 10 million barrels a day, on average, from the prior week.

Ethanol output has fluctuated greatly since the last time it was this high. On March 3, production dropped to 1.022 million barrels a day, the lowest since November, worrying some that it would stay low. It rebounded the next week, however, and is again at relatively lofty levels.

Output reached a record 1.061 million barrels a day, on average, in the week that ended on January 27.

Stockpiles of the biofuel last week also rose to an historic high, climbing to 23.257 million barrels, the second highest on record behind only the week ending March 4, 2016. Inventories a week earlier totaled 22.595 million barrels.

Carryout of ethanol has been relatively high since the start of the year, never falling below 20 million barrels. It’ll be interesting to see if stockpiles next week breach the record of 23.307 million.

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3. Cool Weather, Sunshine in Southern Plains Today; Storms Expected in Illinois, Indiana

Storms that were bringing much-needed rainfall to the Southern Plains have seemingly disappeared, giving way to cool overnight weather and sun in the afternoon.

Much of the Oklahoma panhandle saw temperatures in the low 30s overnight, some at 30˚F. and 31˚F., the National Weather Service said in a morning report, not cold enough to damage plants. It’ll get up to almost 70˚F. in some counties in the area this afternoon.

A new front will move in tomorrow, however, bringing a 50% chance of rainfall, and storms are likely on Saturday, according to the NWS.

In the Midwest, widely scattered thunderstorms are forecast for much of northern Illinois and Indiana this morning with coverage expanding by midday, the agency said.

“Some of the thunderstorms will likely become strong to severe in the afternoon,” the NWS said.  

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