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3 Big Things Today, December 7

Soybeans Little Changed on China Worries; Ethanol Production Jumps to Three-Month High.

1. Soybeans Little Changed Overnight on Trade Uncertainty

Soybeans futures were down modestly in overnight trading Friday as investors try to determine if a trade deal with China will happen.

President Trump and China President Xi Jinping met last weekend and hammered out at least a cursory deal in which the U.S. would stop a planned tariff increase on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that was set to go into effect on January 1.

In return, China promised to resume purchases of U.S. agricultural products, according to the White House.

The news sent prices earlier this week surging, but skepticism over the deal as China has yet to acknowledge much of what Trump had promised has kept a lid on buying. Traders are waiting for confirmation that China will indeed resume purchases of U.S. supplies.

Soybeans for January delivery fell 1¢ to $9.08½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal declined 10¢ to $312.10 a short ton, and soy oil lost 0.12¢ to 28.59¢ a pound. 

Corn futures for December delivery rose 1¢ to $3.83¾ a bushel.

Wheat for March delivery rose 4¢ to $5.19½ a bushel overnight, and Kansas City futures gained 5½¢ to $5.01 a bushel.

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2. Ethanol Production Jumps to Three-Month High, Inventories Also Rise

Ethanol production in the week that ended on November 30 jumped to the highest level in almost three months, according to the Energy Information Administration. Stockpiles also rose.

Output of the biofuel in the U.S. rose to an average of 1.069 million barrels a day last week, up from 1.048 million the prior seven days and the highest since August 31 when production totaled 1.087 million barrels a day, on average, the EIA said.

The Midwest region, by far the biggest producer in the country, rose to an average of 989,000 barrels a day from 964,000 barrels in the prior week, according to the government. Production on the West Coast was up by 1,000 barrels to 21,000 a day, on average, last week, the EIA said.

The jump in the Midwest and slight gain on the West Coast more than offset declines on the East Coast, where output fell to 22,000 barrels a day from 24,000 the previous week, the EIA said. In the Gulf Coast, output was down to 22,000 barrels from 26,000.

In the Rocky Mountain region, production was again unchanged at 14,000 barrels a day.

Stockpiles last week rose to 23.03 million barrels last week, up from 22.93 million barrels, the highest since the seven days that ended on November 9, the government said.

In other news, the Weekly Export Sales Report from the USDA is set to be released today, a day late due to the passing of George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the U.S.

Analysts are expecting corn sales form 800,000 to 1.1 million metric tons, soybean sales from 600,000 to 900,000 tons, and wheat sales from 300,000 to 600,000 tons, according to researcher Allendale.

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3. Winter Weather Advisory Issued For Northern Arkansas as Snow, Ice Expected

 A winter weather advisory has been issued for the northern half of Arkansas, as snow and ice are expected in the state this weekend.

The storm, which is expected to start tonight and last through Sunday, will bring as much as 4 inches of snow and accumulations of ice of up to ¼ inch in some areas, according to the National Weather Service.

“A winter weather advisory means that periods of snow, sleet, or freezing rain will cause travel difficulties,” the NWS said in a report early Friday morning. “Be prepared for slippery roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving.”

Farther north, in Ohio, residual moisture from recent snow and rain along with below-freezing temperatures could result in slick spots on roadways, bridges, and overpasses, the agency said.

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