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3 Big Things Today, December 22

Soybeans, Corn Little Changed Overnight; Export Sales Strong in Week Through Dec. 14

1. Soybeans, Grains Little Changed Despite Strong Export Sales

Soybeans and grains were little changed on light volume on the last day of trading before the long Christmas weekend.

Export sales were strong for corn, beans, and wheat, but gains were limited by fund selling of contracts ahead of the new year, analysts said.

Investors are also watching the weather in South America, which has been pretty benign for the past week since rain began falling in parts of Argentina.

Volume is expected to be light today and grain markets close at 12:05 p.m. in Chicago and won’t reopen until 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Soybean futures for January delivery rose ¾¢ to $9.49½ per bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soymeal rose 70¢ to $318.80 a short ton, and soy oil added 0.03¢ to 32.86¢ a pound.

Corn futures for March delivery were unchanged at $3.51¼ a bushel in Chicago.

Chicago wheat for March delivery fell ¼¢ to $4.26¾ a bushel overnight. Kansas City futures rose ¼¢ to $4.24½ a bushel.

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2. Export Sales of Corn, Soybeans, Wheat All Surged Last Week

Export sales of corn, beans, and wheat all surged in the week that ended on December 14, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Corn sales came in at 1.56 million metric tons, up 80% from the previous week and 82% from the prior four-week average, the USDA said in a report. Analysts pegged sales from 800,000 to 1.1 million tons.

Mexico was the big buyer at 381,500 metric tons; unknown buyers took 296,600 tons; and Colombia was in for 167,100 tons. Japan bought 151,300 tons and Costa Rica purchased 134,500 tons, government data show.

Soybean sales last week totaled 1.74 million tons, up 20% from the prior week and 34% from the average, the USDA said. Analysts had expected sales from 1.3 million to 1.8 million tons.

China, as usual, was the biggest buyer at 1.58 million tons. Mexico came in second at 110,900 tons, Thailand took 94,300 tons, Costa Rica bought 80,000 tons, Egypt was in for 67,600 tons and South Korea purchased 61,100 tons.

The total would have been even higher but an unknown buyer canceled purchases for 360,800 tons; Japan canceled a shipment of 48,100 tons; and Pakistan canceled a contract for 44,400 tons, according to the report.

Exporters sold 796,300 metric tons of wheat last week, up 35% from the previous week and the highest level since the marketing year started on June 1, the USDA said. Analysts had expected sales from 300,000 to 600,000 tons.

An unknown buyer was the biggest purchaser at 193,700 tons, the government said. Japan bought 132,100 tons, Algeria was in for 120,000 tons; Indonesia took 115,900 tons; and Guatemala purchased 57,000 tons. Mexico canceled a shipment of 14,700 tons and Nicaragua canceled a purchase of 11,000 tons, according to the USDA.

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3. Wintry Mix Including Freezing Rain Expected Today, Snow Likely Into Christmas

A wintry mix that includes freezing drizzle fell in parts of eastern Nebraska yesterday and has since moved east into Iowa and western Illinois.

The system will drop freezing drizzle on parts of eastern Iowa today, creating some slick spots for holiday travelers, the National Weather Service said in a report early Friday morning.

There’s a chance for snow in parts of Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Indiana this weekend, especially along Interstate 80, according to the agency. Another round of light snow is expected on Christmas Day, though the exact amount isn’t yet known.

Along with the snow will come “very cold air” that will remain through Wednesday. Wind chills in the central Midwest are expected to drop to as low as -15°F. by Tuesday morning, the NWS said. Daytime highs are seen from the 20s to the low single digits, the NWS said.

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