3 Big Things Today, December 24, 2020

Soybeans, Grains Higher Overnight; Corn Export Sales Drop to Marketing-Year Low

1. Soybean Futures Surge and Grains Rise in Overnight Trading

Soybean futures jumped and grains were higher overnight amid an ongoing strike in Argentina that will continue through the Christmas weekend.

Soybean crushers extended a strike through the holiday season, the Federacion Aceitera, the workers’ union, said in a statement.

The strike has already been going on for more than two weeks and has left about 170 ships stranded at ports in the South American country, according to Bloomberg News, which cited a communications manager at export group Ciara-Cec.

Delays from the strikes have delayed about $1.7 billion worth of exports, the report said.

The strike, along with ongoing concerns about weather in South American growing countries including Brazil and Argentina, continue to boost prices.

In Brazil, dry weather will continue next week, which should increase the number of plants facing drought stress, Commodity Weather Group said in a report.

Crops in southern Argentina, meanwhile, are facing increased stress, though wetter weather looks to be on the way, CWG said.

Grain trading will close at 12:05 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade today and will be closed for Christmas Day.

Soybean futures for January delivery jumped 10 1/4¢ to $12.70 ¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soymeal added $1.70 to $420.70 a short ton, and soy oil gained 0.45¢ to 41.06¢ a pound.

Corn futures for March delivery were up 1/2¢ to $4.47 ¾ a bushel overnight.

Wheat futures for March delivery gained 1¢ to $6.30 ¾ a bushel, while Kansas City futures added 1 1/4¢ to $5.89 ¼ a bushel.

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2. Export Sales of Corn and Beans Drop to Marketing-Year Lows

Export sales of corn and beans dropped to marketing-year lows while wheat sales also declined, according to the USDA.

Corn sales to overseas buyers in the seven days that ended on Dec. 17 were reported at 651,100 metric tons, down 66% from the previous week and 59% from the prior four-week average, the agency said in a report that was released a day early due to the long Christmas weekend.

The total also was the lowest since the 2020-2021 marketing year started on Sept. 1.

An unnamed buyer purchased 181,600 metric tons, Guatemala took 99,800 tons, Japan was in for 87,200 tons, Egypt bought 60,000 tons and Canada was in for 42,600 tons, the USDA said.

Soybean sales came in at 352,800 metric tons, also the lowest since the year that started on Sept. 1. That also was down 62% week-to-week and 47% from the average, the agency said.

China was the big buyer at 526,400 metric tons, the Netherlands purchased 139,000 tons, Egypt was in for 95,700 tons, Japan took 75,000 tons and Spain bought 71,800 tons.

An unnamed country, however, canceled shipments totaling 791,300 metric tons, U.S. government data show.

Wheat sales for delivery in the grain’s marketing year that started on June 1 were reported at 393,700 metric tons, down 27% from the previous week and 34% from the prior four-week average.

Nigeria purchased 102,000 metric tons, Mexico took 70,200 tons, Indonesia bought 60,000 tons, South Korea was in for 57,000 tons and Japan took 52,900 tons, the USDA said.

The total would’ve been higher but an unknown destination nixed shipments for 17,300 tons.

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3. Extreme Cold Follows Winter Weather in Parts of Upper Midwest Into Weekend  

Extremely cold weather has settled in across parts of the upper Midwest with wind chills in parts of Iowa reaching minus-30 degrees Fahrenheit and negative-35 in Minnesota, according to the National Weather Service.

“A strong winter storm is pulling east of the area this morning,” the NWS said in a report early this morning. “We still have moderate to heavy snow affecting parts of northern Wisconsin along with strong northwest winds, causing blowing and drifting of the snow. However, conditions are improving rapidly and have allowed all blizzard warnings to end as of 4 a.m.”

Extremely cold weather will last today into Christmas morning in parts of northern Iowa, the agency said.

The area will get a break for the weekend before another “potent” storm system moves into the region Tuesday or Wednesday, though it’s still too early to tell how severe it will be, the NWS said.

Further east, a winter storm warning and winter weather advisories are in effect for parts of western Michigan and northern Indiana.

As much as 10 inches of snow is expected along the shore of Lake Michigan in a couple counties in southwestern Michigan today and tomorrow.

“Lake-effect snow is expected to begin late this afternoon and continue through Friday morning before tapering off on Friday afternoon,” the NWS said. “Significant accumulations will result in snow-covered roads and difficult driving conditions.”

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