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3 Big Things Today, April 30, 2020

Wheat Futures Lower Overnight; Ethanol Production Falls to Fresh Record Low.

1. Wheat Futures Lower Overnight on Favorable Weather

Wheat futures were lower in overnight trading on speculation that favorable weather in growing areas around the globe will boost production.

In Canada, drier weather will prevail for much of the next two weeks even as some rain is forecast in the Prairies where wheat is grown, Commodity Weather Group said in a report.

Potential precipitation in parts of western Australia may improve germination for wheat and canola in the region.

In eastern Ukraine and southern Russia, rains expected in the latter half of next week will “provide timely relief,” the forecaster said in a report.

“Showers are active across Europe wheat (and) rapeseed (growing areas) in the next week, averting stress for vegetative growth,” CWG said.

Soybean futures were slightly higher overnight on some demand news. The USDA said yesterday that Mexico bought 108,860 metric tons of soybeans, with the bulk being shipped in the 2019-2020 marketing year that ends on August 31.

That’s the second big purchase by Mexico, which bought 125,000 tons of U.S. soybeans last week. China also bought 136,000 metric tons, the USDA said, on April 24.

Wheat futures for May delivery dropped 4¢ to $5.12½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, and Kansas City futures fell 9¾¢ to $4.74 a bushel.

Corn futures for May delivery fell ¼¢ to $3.14¼ a bushel.

Soybean futures rose 4½¢ to $8.42 a bushel overnight, while soy meal added $1.10 to $289.70 a short ton, and soy oil added 0.18¢ to 26.35¢ a pound. 


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2. Ethanol Production Falls to Fresh Record Low Amid Demand Rout

Ethanol output fell to a fresh record low, while stockpiles finally halted a string of four weekly gains, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Production of the biofuel dropped to an average of 537,000 barrels a day in the week that ended on April 24, the EIA said in a report. That’s down from 563,000 barrels the previous week and the lowest since record keeping began in 2010.

In the Midwest, by far the biggest-producing region, output declined to 512,000 barrels a day, on average, from 530,000 the previous week.

Gulf Coast production dropped to an average of 6,000 barrels a day from 13,000 barrels, and West Coast output fell to 3,000 barrels a day from 5,000, the EIA said.

Rocky Mountain output was unchanged at 5,000 barrels a day, on average, while East Coast production rose to 11,000 barrels a day from 10,000, the agency said in its report.

Stockpiles fell from a record last week, declining to 26.337 million barrels from 27.689 million a week earlier. That stopped a string of four weekly gains.

Ethanol sales in 2020 could drop by more than $10 billion, according to the Renewable Fuels Association, as demand for the biofuel plunges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The economic losses stem from a “pernicious combination of steep production cuts and sharply lower prices” in response to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and the resulting collapse in fuel consumption,” the RFA said in a report. “America’s farmers will also be negatively impacted, as ethanol typically provides a market for two out of every five rows of corn and more than one third of the annual sorghum crop.”


3. Strong Winds Forecast in Parts of Northern Illinois and Indiana Thursday

Strong winds are expected in much of northern Illinois and northwestern Indiana today, according to the National Weather Service.

Gusts from 40 to 45 mph are expected along with even stronger gusts near the shores of Lake Michigan, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

In west-central Nebraska and western Kansas, meanwhile, a red-flag warning is in effect due to strong winds and low humidity.

Strong southerly winds sustained from 10 to 20 mph with gusts of up to 30 mph are expected today, and the relative humidity is expected to fall into the low teens to around 20%, the agency said.

“Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly and be difficult to control,” the NWS said.

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