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3 Big Things Today, November 18

Soybeans, Corn Fall in Overnight Trading; Export Sales Still Strong as Buyersp Fill Needs

1. Soybean, Corn Fall as Dollar Value Rises to Fresh 13-Year High

Soybeans and grains were lower overnight as the dollar jumped to a fresh 13-year high, curbing demand prospects for U.S. goods.

The value of the dollar against a basket of currencies rose to the highest level since 2003 after Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the case to raise interest rates in December has strengthened. The Federal Open Markets Committee likely will increase the federal funds rate by 25 basis points next month.

The dollar has been strengthening since the election as President-elect Donald Trump has said he will invest a trillion dollars in infrastructure improvements, boosting spending and increasing the value of the dollar against foreign currencies.

A stronger greenback, however, reduces purchasing power for overseas buyers seeking dollar-denominated goods including agriculture products. Sales of soybeans, corn, and wheat have been stronger than usual in recent months due to low prices, and that’s been propping up futures in Chicago.

Soybeans for January delivery fell 4¼¢ to $9.85¼ a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal futures for December delivery declined $1.90 to $309.60 a short ton, and soy oil was unchanged at 33.70¢ a pound. 

Corn futures for December delivery fell ½¢ to 3.41½ a bushel in Chicago.

Wheat futures for December delivery lost 2½¢ to $4.00½ a bushel in Chicago, while Kansas City futures declined 2¼¢ to $4.06½ a bushel. 


2. Export Sales Continue to be Strong as Overseas Buyers Meet Needs

Overseas importers bought another impressive amount of corn and soybeans in the week that ended on November 10 as they try to meet needs amid low prices, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Corn sales totaled 1.66 million metric tons, up 35% from the prior week and 47% from the previous four-week average, the USDA said in a report. The biggest buyers were unnamed, taking 433,800 tons, followed by Japan, which bought 255,500 tons. The Dominican Republic was in the market for 229,300 tons, Mexico bought 164,500 tons, and Saudi Arabia purchased 140,000 tons.

Corn shipments totaled 540,800 tons, the agency said.

Soybean sales jumped 51% week overnweek to 1.42 million tons, up 51% from the prior week but down 23% from the average. Sales were partially offset by a large cancellation, the USDA said.

China, as usual, was the biggest buyer, taking 1.69 million metric tons. Mexico followed, taking 74,500 tons, Vietnam purchased 72,400 tons, Germany bought 62,800 tons, and Japan was in for 59,800 tons. Unknown buyers cancelled purchases for 772,100 tons

Soybean shipments during the week totaled 3.03 million metric tons, a marketing-year high.

Wheat sales totaled 598,400 tons, down 22% from the prior week but up 11% from the four-week average, the USDA said. Unknown buyers took 177,800 tons, the Philippines bought 82,800 tons, and the Dominican Republic purchased 60,500 tons, Japan bought 49,100 tons. Nigeria was in for 41,700 tons, Jamaica took 38,000 tons, and Algeria bought 38,000 tons, the USDA said.

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3. Blizzard Slamming Upper Midwest Joined by Arctic Blast

Snowfall in parts the Upper Midwest will be “enhanced” by an Arctic blast from Canada, the National Weather Service said in a report on Friday.

Blizzard warnings and winter storm warnings are in effect for much of Nebraska, South Dakota, and Minnesota and parts of other states, the NWS weather maps show.

Total accumulations are expected to mostly be around 5 inches in parts of northeastern South Dakota, a few counties in extreme southeastern North Dakota, and much of west-central Minnesota, with a few areas receiving up to a foot, the agency said. Travel is not advised, as roads will likely be frozen over and extremely slick.

“Snow will increase in intensity … early this morning and become heavy at times into early afternoon before tapering off by evening,” the NWS said. “Rains and a few thunderstorms will change to snow by early this afternoon.”

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