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3 Big Things Today, April 20

Wheat Futures Fall Overnight; Weekly Export Sales of Corn, Soybeans Mixed.

1. Wheat Drops First Session in Four as Rain Finally Falls in Southern Plains

Wheat futures declined for the first time in four sessions overnight, as forecasters confirmed that rain will fall in the Southern Plains today and tomorrow.

Precipitation in the area, where hard red winter wheat, which composes the bulk of the U.S. crop, is grown, is expected today, tomorrow, and possibly Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Most of the region has seen little or no rain in the past several months, NWS data show. While it may be too late for some hard red winter wheat in the Southern Plains, precipitation can only help plants that are still growing.

Much of the area is in extreme or exceptional drought, the worst ratings possible, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Wheat for May delivery fell 8¼¢ to $4.82½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures dropped 9¼¢ to $5.05¼ a bushel.

Corn futures declined 2¼¢ to $3.79¾ a bushel overnight.

Soybean futures for May delivery lost 7¢ to $10.42 a bushel. Soy meal fell $2.30 to $375.50 a short ton, and soy oil was unchanged at 31.68¢ a pound.


2. Weekly Export Sales of Corn, Soybeans Mixed; Wheat Drops to Marketing-Year Low

Export sales of corn and soybeans were mixed week to week, while wheat dropped to a marketing-year low, according to the USDA.

Corn sales totaled 1.09 million metric tons for the week that ended on April 12, up 30% from the prior week but down 4% from the previous four-week average, the USDA said in a report. Analysts had pegged sales from 700,000 to 1.4 million tons.

Colombia was the biggest buyer of the grain, taking 246,300 metric tons, followed by Taiwan at 175,700 tons, Japan at 141,300 tons, South Korea at 132,500 tons, and China at 129,500 tons. The total would’ve been higher but an unknown buyer canceled a purchase for 180,900 tons, according to the report.  

Weekly soybean sales dropped 31% to 1.04 million metric tons last week, but the total was up 12% from the prior four-week average, the USDA said.

Unknown buyers were the biggest customers, taking 581,000 tons. Mexico was next on the list at 129,900 tons, Indonesia bought 77,800 tons, Egypt was in for 61,400 tons, and Japan purchased 43,400 tons. China canceled a contract for 52,900 tons, the government said.

Analysts had expected sales from 1.4 million to 2 million tons.

Wheat sales for the 12 months that finish on May 31 ended up a net negative for the week, falling 66,900 metric tons last week – a marketing year low, according to the USDA.

Sales of 48,300 tons were recorded for the Philippines, Chile bought 33,000 tons, Columbia was in for 7,600 tons, and Peru bought 7,400 tons. Japan, however, canceled a shipment for 65,000 tons, an unknown buyer canceled a contract for 63,700 ton,s and Indonesia backed out of a shipment for 50,000 tons, the government said.

Analysts had expected sales from 100,000 to 550,000 tons.

Sales for the 2018-2019 marketing year that starts on June 1 totaled 240,400 metric tons, as the Philippines was in for 65,000 tons, Indonesia bought 50,000 tons, Thailand purchased 39,500 tons, and Japan took 36,200 tons.


3. Freeze Warnings Abound in Eastern Midwest While Southern Plains Will See Rain

Freeze warnings are still in effect for parts of southern Illinois, southern Indiana, and southern Ohio this morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Low temperatures fell into the upper 20s overnight in much of the region, the NWS said in a report early Friday morning, further putting any soft red winter wheat that’s grown in the area at risk.

Frost advisories also were issued for the southern half of Missouri as temperatures overnight dropped into the lower 30s. Temperatures in the 30s likely won’t influence wheat that’s started to grow again after overwintering.

In the Southern Plains, meanwhile, rainfall is in the forecast for the first time in months.

“Thunderstorms are expected today through tonight” in the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, the NWS said. “Although severe weather is not expected at this time, a few storms may become strong with locally heavy rainfall and gusty winds of 40 to 50 mph.”

Storms are possible today, tomorrow, and Tuesday night, the agency said.

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