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3 Big Things Today, April 21, 2020

Soybeans, Grains Lower Overnight; Weekly Export Inspections of Corn, Wheat Decline.

1. Soybeans and Grains Fall in Overnight Trading

Soybean and grain futures were lower in overnight trading amid a litany of bearish news.

Several cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Nebraska packing plants, leading to worries that more facilities will be shut to ensure worker safety.

Smithfield Foods last week closed its plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, amid an outbreak of the virus. The facility is one of the largest in the nation and represents 4% to 5% of all pork production in the U.S., the company said in a statement.

Shuttering more processing plants would lead to less demand for livestock feed in a market already hurt by export demand destruction.

Corn futures also are being pressured after oil prices dropped into negative territory yesterday for the first time in history. West Texas Intermediate crude futures for May delivery plunged yesterday amid a dearth in demand.

That, in turn, has investors worried about ethanol demand.

Underpinning corn prices, meanwhile, was the USDA’s Crop Progress Report that showed only 7% of the U.S. crop was planted as of Sunday. That’s down from the prior five-year average of 9%.

Soybean planting, however, was 2% complete vs. the average of 1% for this time of year.

Soybean futures for May delivery lost 9¼¢ to $8.27 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while soy meal fell $1.20 to $289.60 a short ton, and soy oil dropped 0.72¢ to 25.65¢ a pound. 

Corn futures fell 4¼¢ to $3.18 a bushel overnight.

Wheat futures for May delivery declined 1½ ¢ to $5.46 a bushel overnight, and Kansas City futures dropped 1¾¢ to $5.00½ a bushel.

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2. Exports Inspections of Corn and Wheat Decline Week to Week

Inspections of corn and wheat for offshore delivery declined week to week, while soybean assessments improved, according to the USDA.

Corn inspections in the seven days that ended on April 16 were reported at 683,854 metric tons, down from 1.18 million tons a week earlier, the agency said in a report.

The total also was down from the 1.36 million tons examined for shipment during the same week in 2019.

Wheat assessments dropped to 469,922 metric tons last week from 660,375 tons, the USDA said. During the same period a year earlier, the government inspected 829,703 tons of wheat for offshore delivery.

Soybean inspections, meanwhile, came in at 539,824 metric tons, up from 474,225 tons a week earlier, the report said. That also was up from the 386,068 tons assessed during the same week last year.

Since the start of the marketing year on September 1, the government has inspected 21.2 million metric tons of corn for overseas delivery. That’s down from the 33.3 million tons examined during the same time frame a year earlier, the USDA said.

Examinations of soybeans since the start of September now stand at 32.9 million metric tons, up from 31 million tons at this point in 2019.

Wheat inspections since the start of the grain’s marketing year on June 1 are now at 22 million metric tons, up from 20.8 million tons assessed during the same period the previous year, the government said in its report.  

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3. Severe Thunderstorms Expected to Fire Up in Southern Plains Later Today  

Weather maps are relatively quiet this morning compared to how active they’ve been in recent days.

In the Southern Plains where hard red winter wheat is maturing, strong thunderstorms are forecast for later today, according to the National Weather Service.

Hail the size of a quarter is expected along with wind gusts from 55 to 60 mph, the NWS said in a report early this morning. Heavy rain also is in the forecast, mainly near the Kansas-Oklahoma border.

Farther north, meanwhile, temperatures in northern Ohio and southern Michigan are expected to drop to around 30˚F. tonight.

Frost is possible in the region ahead of thunderstorms that will develop later in the week, the agency said. The storms aren’t expected to be severe.

In southern Ohio, meanwhile, temperatures as low as 28˚F. are expected in several counties overnight tonight into Wednesday morning. Frost and freezing conditions are expected, the NWS said.

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