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3 Big Things Today, August 31

Wheat Futures Rise Overnight; Weekly Old-Crop Corn Sales Touch Higher, Soybeans Lower

1. Wheat Futures Higher in Overnight Session on Russia Concerns

Wheat futures were again higher for the fourth straight overnight session amid ongoing concerns about Russian production and exports and global weather worries.

Some investors are concerned that Russia will put a cap on exports of the grain after dry weather curbed its crop. Russia’s IKAR consultancy earlier this week lowered its estimate of the country’s wheat crop to 69.6 million metric tons from a prior projection of 70.8 million tons. 

While the government has denied the reports that it will limit shipments of the grain, any hiccup in exports or production in the country will have a ripple effect on the markets.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this month pegged global output at 729.6 million metric tons, down from a prior outlook for 736.3 million tons, lowering production prospects in the European Union by 8 million tons.

Wheat futures for December delivery rose 9¼¢ to $5.44¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Kansas City futures added 8¾¢ to $5.49¾ a bushel.

Corn gained 1½¢ to $3.58 a bushel in Chicago.

Soybean futures added 3½¢ to $8.35 a bushel overnight. Soy meal futures gained 30¢ to $303.80 a short ton, and soy oil added 0.02¢ to 28.69¢ a pound.


2. Old-Crop Corn Sales Up Slightly, Soybeans Sales Decline Week-to-Week

Old crop corn sales were up slightly in the week that ended on August 23 while soybeans were lower with just eight days left in the 2017-2018 marketing year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Corn sales totaled 175,400 metric tons, a 1% increase from the previous week, but down 46% from the prior four-week average, the USDA said in a report.

Japan was the biggest buyer at 103,600 metric tons, Mexico took 96,400 tons, Egypt bought 75,700 tons, and Saudi Arabia purchased 73,600 tons. Unknown buyers canceled cargoes of 331,400 tons and Panama nixed a cargo of 35,000 tons, the government said.

New-crop corn sales came in at 525,000 metric tons as Mexico bought 136,400 tons, unknown customers purchased 114,500 tons, and Panama was in for 98,300 tons.

Analysts had expected sales from 700,000 to 1.1 million tons.

Soybean sales, meanwhile, dropped 27% from the previous week and 39% from the average to 110,900 tons, according to the USDA.

The Netherlands was the biggest buyer at 155,200 tons, Iran bought 139,600 tons, Spain was in for 60,000 tons, Tunisia purchased 39,200 tons, and Egypt took 38,300 tons. Unknown buyers canceled shipments totaling 409,600 tons, China canceled a cargo for 61,500 tons, and Mexico canceled a purchase of 20,800 tons.

Sales for delivery in the 2018-2019 marketing year that starts on September 1 totaled 591,600 metric tons, the government said. Unknown customers were the biggest buyer at 360,200 tons, Mexico bought 131,200 tons, and Pakistan was in for 65,000 tons.

Analysts had pegged sales from 500,000 to 1.25 million tons.

Wheat sales for delivery in the grain’s marketing year that started on June 1 jumped 73% week-to-week to 414,800 tons, but that was down 5% from the prior four-week average, the USDA said.

The Philippines bought 102,700 tons, Japan was in for 90,3000 tons, Mexico took 80,700 tons, Indonesia was in for 53,000 tons and Jamaica purchased 22,400 tons. Analysts expected sales from 200,000 to 500,000 tons.


3. Active Weather Patterns Forming Over North-Central Midwest Will Bring Rain, Possible Flooding

An “active wet pattern” will bring multiple weather fronts to parts of Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin this weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

The storms, along with higher rainfall rates, will lead to an elevated risk of flooding in the region or exacerbate flooding already occurring in some areas, the NWS said in a report early Friday morning.

“With recent heavy rainfall, minimal additional amounts will be needed to aggravate ongoing flooding,” the agency said. “These storms may be capable of producing flash flooding.”

Farther south, flood warnings are also in effect for counties in southeastern Missouri and southwestern Kansas. As much as 5 inches of rain fell in the area on Thursday, which led to the flooding, according to the NWS.

Temperatures in the area today will hit about 100°F., and the weekend’s expected to be mostly dry. There’s a chance for more storms starting again Monday.

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