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3 Big Things Today, October 18

Wheat Futures Fall as Longs Book Profits; Corn, Soybean Harvest Rolls On

1. Wheat Futures Fall as Bullish Investors Book Profits

Wheat futures were lower overnight as investors who had bet on higher prices booked profits after prices jumped.

Wheat prices increased, and have been rising since reaching 10-year lows in August, after the U.S. Department of Agriculture last week unexpectedly cut its forecast for global stockpiles. Prices also had risen amid strong demand for U.S. supplies. Wheat sales last week were up 30% from the prior seven days at 491,000 metric tons, according to the USDA.

Prices had jumped to an almost-four-month high, prompting some investors who’d taken long positions to liquidate contracts.

Soybean and corn futures were little changed overnight as investors weigh strong demand against a progressing harvest.

Exporters sold 1.42 million metric tons of soybeans in the week that ended October 6, the Department of Agriculture said in a report. China was the biggest buyer, taking 795,800 tons of the total, according to the USDA. Corn sales totaled 873,400 tons, and while that’s well below the prior week, it’s still quite strong. South Korea, Japan, and Mexico were all buyers of U.S. corn.

Still, dry weather in the Midwest is aiding growers trying to get their crops into the bin.

Wheat futures for December delivery fell 3½ cents to $4.20¼ a bushel in Chicago, while Kansas City futures lost 2¢ to $4.20 a bushel. 

Soybeans for November delivery rose ¾¢ to $9.79 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal futures for December delivery added $1.90 to $305.40 a short ton and soy oil lost 0.35¢ to 35.09¢ a pound.

Corn futures for December delivery rose ¾¢ to $3.54¾ a bushel in Chicago.


2. Corn, Bean Planting, Wheat Seeding Move Ahead But Trail Year-Ago Pace

Corn and soybean growers made solid progress with the harvest last week but are still behind the crops’ respective five-year pace, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Corn producers were 46% finished collecting their grain as of Sunday, up from 35% last week but still behind the five-year average of 39% for this time of year, the USDA said in a report after the close of trading on Monday.

In the last crop conditions report of the growing season, corn was rated 74% good or excellent, up from 68% last year, government data show. Some 74% of soybeans ended the year with top ratings, up from 64% a year earlier.

Soybean collection made more significant progress, as 62% were harvested as of Sunday, up from 44% the prior week, but still behind the five-year average of 63%, the USDA said.

Winter wheat growers were 72% finished planting their crops, some into extremely dry soils, up from 59% last week but just behind the average of 73%.


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3. Dry Weather Dominates Midwest as Harvest Rolls On  

Dry weather will dominate much of the Midwest today and tomorrow as maps are extremely quiet this morning.

Only a small chance of thunderstorms is present for tomorrow for parts of eastern Iowa and western Illinois, according to the National Weather Service. After months of excessively wet weather, a timely dry spell should allow growers to get into fields to continue the harvest.

A large dome of high pressure will elevate temperatures in the central and eastern U.S., which will push up temperatures by 10°F. to 20°F. on Wednesday, the NWS said. Record-high temperatures are expected with highs in the 80s and 90s.  

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