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3 Big Things Today, January 10

Soybeans Lower, Grains Little Changed Overnight; Farmer Sentiment Falls in December.

1. Soybeans Decline in Overnight Trading on Argentina Rainfall

Soybeans were lower while corn and wheat were little changed for a second straight overnight session amid wetter weather in South America and as investors square positions ahead of Friday’s USDA report.

Rainfall is now forecast for the next 10 days in parts of Argentina, which may boost crop prospects in the country, according to Commodity Weather Group. The area had been dry, so the precipitation is welcome.

Rain is also expected in the central Midwest, which may boost prospects for some soft red winter wheat crops, but any help is limited, the forecaster said.

It's likely prices will bounce around the rest of the week, as investors prepare for Friday's World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Report, an analyst said. 

Soybeans for March delivery fell 3¢ to $9.60¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal declined $1.50 to $316.70 a short ton, and soy oil gained 0.08¢ to 33.78¢ a pound.

Corn futures were up ¾¢ to $3.49¾ a bushel overnight.

Wheat for March delivery added a penny to $4.33¼ a bushel. Kansas City futures rose 1¢ to $4.40 a bushel.

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2. Farmers Less Optimistic About Future, Much More Rosy on Current Conditions

U.S. farmers in December were less optimistic about their future than they were a month earlier, according to a survey from Purdue University and CME Group.

The Ag Economy Barometer drifted to a reading of 126 in December, the second straight decline and the lowest reading since March, Purdue and CME said in a report. The barometer is derived from responses from 400 agricultural producers from across the U.S.

“The decline in the Ag Economy Barometer over the last two months was driven entirely by producers adopting a more pessimistic perspective regarding the future,” the report said.

The barometer has two subindices: the Index of Future Expectations and the Index of Current Conditions. The former fell to a reading of 120, the lowest since October 2016.

The Index of Current Conditions, however, actually rose in December to a 139 reading, the highest level since July and the second-highest reading since the gauge was created in October 2015, according to the report.

The readings show a “sharp contrast” between how producers feel about the future and how they feel about current economic conditions.

“In short, a paradox has developed in recent months,” the report said. “Producers’ optimism about current economic conditions has remained strong and arguably even strengthened, while optimism about the future has faded to a 14-month low.”

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3. Northern U.S. in Winter Weather Advisory, Winter Storm Warning Wednesday

Almost all of the central U.S. north of Oklahoma is under a winter weather advisory or winter storm warning this morning.

In eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota, a winter storm is expected to bring near-blizzard conditions, making travel difficult, according to the National Weather Service.

Snow accumulations are forecast from 2 to 4 inches and wind gusts of up to 45 mph will cause drifting and blowing snow, the agency said.  

The winter weather advisory stretches as far south as Ulysses, Kansas, in the southwestern port of the state. Mixed precipitation is forecast in southwestern Kansas, with snowfall of up to 2 inches and a light glaze of ice expected.

Snow, sleet, and freezing rain will make travel extremely dangerous, the NWS said.

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