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3 Big Things Today, April 19

Wheat Futures Higher Third Straight Day; Weekly Ethanol Stockpiles, Production Decline.

1. Wheat Rises Third Day as Forecasts Again Turn Dry After Weekend Rain

Wheat futures rose for a third straight day despite rainfall in the forecast for the Southern Plains.

Rains will likely temporarily ease stress on two thirds of Southern Plains wheat this weekend, but about half will turn drier again in the next 15 days, according to Commodity Weather Group.

There’s a 100% chance of rainfall on Friday and a 60% chance on Saturday in parts of the Oklahoma panhandle, where little or no rain has fallen for at least three months, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures also will hover in the 40s for the next couple of days before rising into the 60s and 70s early next week.

The 15-day outlook isn’t as rosy, as temperatures again climb and weather forecasts show no precipitation beyond Saturday. While the rain is welcome, it may not be enough to have much of a positive effect on hard red winter wheat, which hasn’t seen rain in several months.

Wheat for May delivery rose 1¾¢ to $4.91 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures added 4¾¢ to $5.12½ a bushel.

Corn futures fell ¼¢ to $3.91½ a bushel overnight.

Soybean futures for May delivery rose ½¢ to $10.54 a bushel. Soy meal lost $1 to $375.60 a short ton, and soy oil rose 0.06¢ to 31.75¢ a pound.

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2. Ethanol Inventories Fall to Lowest Since October, Output Drops Fifth Straight Week

It was good news and bad news as ethanol stockpiles fell to the lowest level since October while production dropped for a fifth straight week.

Inventories of the biofuel declined to 21.344 million barrels as of April 13, the Energy Information Administration said in a report. That’s down from 21.846 million a week earlier.

Ethanol production, meanwhile, fell to 1.009 million barrels a day, on average, last week, according to the EIA. That’s down from an average of 1.034 million barrels a day during the previous seven-day time frame and the smallest output level since the week ended January 5, agency data show.

S&P Global Platts said in a report that seasonal maintenance is expected to continue cutting production until May, and some market participants had expected steep cuts last week.

In other news, the USDA will release its Weekly Export Sales Report this morning. Sales of corn are pegged from 700,000 to 1.4 million metric tons, soybean sales are seen from 1.4 million to 2 million tons, and wheat sales are expected from 100,000 to 550,000 tons, according to Allendale.

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3. Cold Weather Moves East, South, Brings Low Temperatures to Eastern Midwest

The winter weather that’s been beating up on much of the central Midwest has moved east and south and is now hitting parts of several states from Missouri to West Virginia, though it’s much weaker than it was in prior days.

A frost warning is in effect for the southern half of Missouri and parts of Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures are expected to fall to the low to mid 30s.

Farther north, however, a freeze warning has been issued starting at midnight in parts of southeastern Illinois, southern Indiana, and southern Ohio, the NWS said in a report early Thursday morning.

Temperatures are expected to drop to near 30˚F., which could hurt “sensitive” vegetation, the agency said.  

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