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3 Big Things Today, February 1

Wheat, Soybeans Lower Overnight; Ethanol Production Drops to Three-Week Low.

1. Wheat, Soybeans Drop Again Overnight Despite Unchanged Fundamentals

Wheat and soybean prices fell again overnight as investors continue to sell after the recent run-up.

Analysts said speculators and hedgers are selling futures contracts after prices surged earlier this week, and farmers are taking advantage of the price hike to lock in sales. That’s increasing available supply and, in turn, depressing prices today.

Fundamentally little has changed. Dry weather continues in the Southern Plains where hard red winter wheat is attempting to overwinter.

In South America, it’s still hot and dry in Argentina with temperatures expected to top 100˚F. this weekend. In Brazil, rain in some growing areas will probably slow planting of the second corn crop.

Wheat for March delivery fell 5½¢ to $4.46¼ a bushel in overnight trading on the Chicago Board of Trade. Kansas City futures lost 6¢ to $4.61¼ a bushel.

Corn futures declined 1¢ to $3.60½ a bushel overnight.

Soybean futures for March delivery fell 6¢ to $9.89¾ a bushel. Soybean meal futures dropped $2.30 to $335.50 a short ton, while soy oil fell 0.06¢ to 33.01¢ a pound.

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2. Ethanol Production Falls to Lowest in Three Weeks, Stockpiles Also Decline

Ethanol production fell to the lowest level in three weeks, while stockpiles declined for the first time in a month.

U.S. output of the biofuel declined to 1.04 million barrels a day in the week that ended on January 26, the Energy Information Administration said in a report.

That’s down from 1.062 million barrels a day last week and the lowest amount since January 5.

Stockpiles of ethanol fell only slightly to 23.045 million barrels, according to the EIA. That’s down from 23.8 million barrels seven days earlier and the first decline since the week ended December 22, Energy Department data show.

Ethanol production is still relatively strong despite having backed off record levels in late December. The USDA said it expects biofuel companies to use 5.525 billion bushels of corn to make ethanol in the 2017-2018 marketing year that ends on August 31.

In other news, the Export Sales Report is due today, and analysts expect corn sales from 1 million to 1.5 million tons, soybean sales from 600,000 to 1 million tons, and wheat sales from 300,000 to 500,000 tons, according to Allendale.

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3. Extremely Cold Wind Chills Expected in Northern Plains, Midwest

Extremely cold wind chills are expected throughout much of the Northern Plains and Midwest today, according to the National Weather Service.

Wind chills are forecast from -20˚F. to -30˚F. in most of North Dakota and the northern halves of Minnesota and Wisconsin today, the NWS said in a report early Thursday morning.

Farther south, strong winds are expected along the entire Iowa-Illinois border today. Sustained winds around 30 mph are forecast along with gusts of up to 40 mph, according to the government forecast.

Winds will diminish slightly by mid-morning.

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