3 Big Things Today, December 19
1. Soybeans, Corn Little Changed as Holiday Trade Officially Sets In
Traders are officially in holiday mode, as soybeans and grains were little changed overnight on light volume.
Fundamentally, there have been no shocks to the market in months and little to even trade in the past few weeks.
Some dry weather reared its head in Argentina, the third-biggest producer of soybeans, but rainfall has helped alleviate some of the affected areas. South American weather, as a whole, is mostly benign this year.
U.S. export sales have been fairly dismal in the 2017-2018 marketing year. Sales of corn since September 1 are down 28% from same time frame a year earlier, soybean sales are off 16%, and wheat sales since the start of its marketing year on June 1 are down 9%, according to the USDA.
Prices are trading in a range and likely will stay there until at least the start of 2018, analysts said.
Soybean futures for January delivery fell 1¼¢ to $9.60¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal lost 70¢ to $317.80 a short ton, and soy oil rose 0.09¢ to 33.11¢ a pound.
Corn futures for March delivery rose ¼¢ to $3.47¼ a bushel in Chicago.
Chicago wheat for March delivery lost ½¢ to $4.20 a bushel overnight. Kansas City futures were unchanged at $4.19¼ a bushel.
2. Corn Stocks on December 1 Pegged at 12.223 Billion Bushels, University of Illinois Says
The amount of corn used for ethanol, feed and food, seed, and industrial products are all up, while export totals have declined, which likely will leave December 1 ending stockpiles down from the same date a year earlier, according to data from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Todd Hubbs, a professor at the university, said in a report that December 1 stocks likely totaled 12.223 billion bushels, down by 163 million bushels from 2016.
He said after looking at export inspections and Census Bureau, corn exports in the first quarter of the marketing year (September 1-November 30) likely totaled about 342 million bushels. That’s down from the first quarter last year.
Still, the amount of corn used to make ethanol in the first two months of the quarter – September and October – came in around 916 million bushels, Hubbs said. Estimating November’s use at roughly the same rate – about 6% higher than a year earlier – would mean about 1.4 billion bushels of corn was used to make the biofuel in the first quarter of the marketing year.
Also rising is the amount of the grain used to make food, seed, and industrial products, which is pegged 0.5% higher than the prior year. Quarterly consumption is pegged at about 350 million bushels.
Feed and residual use will likely come in at 2.342 billion bushels of corn in the first quarter of the marketing year, up from 2.274 billion bushels last year. The increase can be attributed to growth in the livestock sector in the past year, Hubbs said.
Total corn consumption during the first quarter is estimated to be near 4.64 billion bushels. Stocks of corn at the beginning the marketing year totaled 2.295 billion bushels, and imports during the quarter were likely near 4 million bushels.
With a crop of 14.578 billion bushels, the corn supply totaled 16.877 billion bushels, he said.
3. Winter Storm Warning in Effect For North Dakota, Likely to Move East Tomorrow
A winter storm warning is in effect for most of western North Dakota this morning, according to the National Weather Service.
Heavy snow is likely and those heading out for Christmas should plan for “difficult” travel conditions, the NWS said in a statement on Tuesday morning. Total snow accumulations will likely total 5 to 8 inches.
The winter storm will move into much of Minnesota and Wisconsin starting tomorrow with a first round of light snow Wednesday before becoming more intense Thursday and Friday.
Total accumulations are seen from 3 to 6 inches in Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin, the NWS said. Arctic air will follow the storm this weekend, bringing wind chills down to -20˚F. or possibly colder on Sunday and Monday, the agency said.