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3 Big Things Today, February 7

Wheat Futures Higher Overnight; Perdue Says He's ‘Hopeful’ For Better NAFTA Deal.

1. Wheat Futures Higher Overnight on Below-Normal Precipitation in Kansas

Wheat futures were higher overnight while soybean prices declined. 

Wheat rose on forecasts for below-normal precipitation for at least the next 15 days in hard red winter wheat areas that are already extremely dry.

Very little rain has fallen in much of the Southern Plains in the past 30 days, according to the National Weather Service. Commodity Weather Group said it expects less-than-normal rain in the next two weeks.

Soybeans, meanwhile, took a breather after double-digit gains yesterday. Some of the buying was technical, but forecasts call for as much as 1½ inches of rain in growing regions in Argentina the next five days, according to CWG. About 65% of corn and soybeans area will see precipitation, the forecaster said.

Wheat for March delivery rose 5¢ to $4.51¼ a bushel in overnight trading. Kansas City futures added 4¼¢ to $4.73¼ a bushel.

Soybean futures fell 1½¢ to $9.84¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soybean meal futures gained 70¢ to $332.40 a short ton, while soy oil added 0.02¢ to 33.18¢ a pound.

Corn futures for March delivery rose ¾¢ to $3.64¼ a bushel.

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2. Perdue ‘Hopeful’ U.S. Will Get a Better Deal From NAFTA Renegotiations

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told the House Ag Committee yesterday that he’s “hopeful” that the U.S. will get a “better deal” from the ongoing negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“I’m hopeful more than I have been,” Perdue said. “We’ve probably seen more movement on Mexico’s side than we have Canada.”

Perdue was briefing the committee on the state of the rural economy, which is “fragile” due to “some things” people in rural areas are struggling with, he said, including low crop prices, concerns over trade disruptions, and dry weather.

The USDA is putting together a contingency plan in case NAFTA negotiations fail, he said.

In other trade news, China said it launched an antidumping probe into U.S. sorghum exports, pushing the price down on Tuesday. The move by the Asian country comes two weeks after the Trump administration placed new tariffs on washing machines and solar panels.

With less sorghum moving to China, the U.S.’s trade deficit with the country – which hit a record high yesterday – likely will get worse, analysts said.

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3. Winter Weather Heads East, Northern Indiana May See Up to 9 Inches of Snow Friday

The deadly winter storm that blasted much of the central Midwest has moved east and is now dropping snow from eastern Illinois all the way to the Atlantic seaboard.

As much as 2 inches of snow are expected today in parts of northern Indiana, near Elkhart, and southern Michigan, in St. Joseph County, while another 9 inches is possible on Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

Road conditions likely will be slippery for the next several days, and travel is not advised.

A winter storm warning has been issued for parts of southern Ohio all the way up through Maine. Mixed precipitation is expected, meaning “significant” amounts of snow, sleet, and ice will make roads impassable, the NWS said.

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