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3 Big Things Today, April 3

Soybeans, Grains Higher Overnight; Export Inspections Higher For Corn, Wheat

1. Soybeans, Grains Higher as Buying Continues on Planting Estimates

Soybeans and grains were higher in overnight trading, rebounding from losses on Monday, as investors weigh planting in the U.S. vs. concerns about a trade war with China.

The USDA said late last week that growers will plant 89 million acres with soybeans, well below expectations and down from a government estimate of 90 million in February. Corn area also came in below forecasts at 88 million acres.

The lower acreage numbers have been giving markets a boost since the report was released on Thursday, as it took traders and brokers by surprise.

Still, analysts said the ongoing trade row with China, which imposed tariffs on almost 130 U.S. items including pork and wine as retaliation for the U.S. putting levies on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, is likely going to keep a lid on prices.

Soybean futures for May delivery rose 8½¢ to $10.44 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal added $3.10 to $380.40 a short ton, and soy oil fell 0.02¢ to 32.02¢ a pound.

Corn futures rose ¾¢ to $3.88 a bushel overnight.

Wheat gained 4¾¢ to $4.51 a bushel in Chicago, while Kansas City futures added 7½¢ to $4.75 a bushel overnight.

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2. Weekly Grain Inspections Rise, Soybeans Decline; Kansas Wheat Ratings Plunge From 2017

Inspections of grains for export rose week to week, while soybeans declined, according to the USDA.

The government inspected 1.35 million metric tons of corn for delivery to overseas buyers in the week that ended on March 29, the USDA said in a report. That’s up from 1.33 million seven days earlier, but down from 1.49 million during the same week a year earlier.

Wheat inspections totaled 361,723 metric tons, up from 343,772 tons the prior week. Still, that’s down form the 573,010 tons inspected in 2017, according to the agency.

Soybean inspections were reported at 542,434 metric tons, down 24% from the prior week and 14% a year earlier, the USDA said.

Inspections for all three crops are lower in their respective marketing years vs. the same time frame a year earlier.

Corn assessments since the start of the marketing year on September 1 have totaled 24.4 million metric tons, down from 33.3 million a year earlier, according to the government. Soybean inspections are at 41.5 million metric tons, down from 47 million last year.

Wheat checks since the start of the grain’s marketing year on June 1 are at 19.9 million metric tons, down from 21.8 million a year earlier, the USDA said.

In other news, the USDA said in its first national Crop Progress report of the year that only 32% of winter wheat is in good or excellent condition as of Sunday, well below the 51% that earned top ratings at this time in 2017.

Thirty percent of the crop was rated poor or very poor vs. only 14% a year earlier.

In Kansas, the biggest producer of winter wheat, only 10% was rated good and 0% was rated excellent. About 47% of the crop was rated poor or very poor, the USDA said.

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3. Storms Move East Into Minnesota, Wisconsin as Old Man Winter Won’t Go Away

Winter just won’t go away, as the storm that stretched from Montana into the Dakotas yesterday has now moved east into Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

In parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin, freezing drizzle will be replaced with snow, with accumulations reaching up to 10 inches, according to the National Weather Service. As much as 6 inches are expected to fall in parts of northeast Iowa.

“The heaviest snow is expected to fall from mid to late morning through early evening,” the NWS said in a report early Tuesday morning. “Some blowing and drifting snow is possible in open areas of southeast Minnesota and northeast Iowa this afternoon and evening as the winds increase.”

In the Southern Plains, a red-flag warning is in effect along with high-wind warnings and, oddly, a freeze warning.

The red-flag warning is due to low humidity and strong winds that are creating extremely dry conditions, meaning wildfires are a real danger. Winds are expected to be sustained in the Oklahoma Panhandle at 45 mph with gusts up to 60 mph, the NWS said.

The freeze warning is farther east in central and eastern Oklahoma and north Texas where temperatures are expected to drop into the 20s, according to the agency. Lows in Oklahoma tomorrow morning are pegged from 20˚F. to 27˚F.

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