3 Big Things Today, January 17

Beans, Grains Little Changed Overnight; Dollar’s Decline Good For Overseas Buyers.

1. Soybeans, Grains Little Changed Overnight on Mixed Fundamentals

Soybeans and grains were little changed in overnight trading amid murky fundamentals.

Investors are likely weighing mixed reports last week and news that rainfall is aiding corn and soybean production in Argentina. That’s giving the markets a bearish tint this morning.

The USDA last week lowered its estimate for soybean production while raising its forecast for inventories. Wheat prices have been lower after the USDA raised its estimate for planted acres well above estimates.

Soybean futures for March delivery fell 1½¢ to $9.66¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soybean meal futures were unchanged at $322.80 a short ton, while soy oil fell 0.16¢ to 32.63¢ a pound.

Wheat rose ½¢ to $4.17 a bushel overnight, while Kansas City futures added ½¢ to $4.22½ a bushel.

Corn for March delivery gained ½¢ to $3.48¾ a bushel.

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2. Weakest Dollar in Three Years, Low Prices Make Now a Good Time to Buy Grain

If there ever was a time for overseas buyers to snap up dollar-based goods – including agricultural products – now’s that time.

The value of the dollar yesterday fell to the lowest level in three years against a basket of foreign currencies amid fears of a U.S. government shutdown and on expectations that major central banks would dial back some stimulus to more normal levels.

A weaker greenback is good news for countries that need goods including corn, beans, wheat, and oil, as it gives them more purchasing power.

Combined with low prices, now is a good time to buy, and growers and exporters in the U.S. would naturally welcome buyer interest.

Sales of corn since the start of the marketing year on September 1 are down 25% from the same time frame a year ago, according to the USDA. Bean sales are off by 14%, and wheat sales since the start of its marketing year on June 1 are down by 9%, USDA data show.

The dollar this morning has clawed back some of its losses, rising 0.3% in overnight trading.

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3. Bitter Cold, Snow Brings Gulf States to a Standstill

It’s cold in the south today as a hard freeze warning is in effect for much of a stretch of land from southern Texas east through Alabama.

Temperatures are in the single digits and several inches of snow are expected in parts of the Gulf Coast, according to the National Weather Service.

In Texarkana, up to 3 inches of snow is forecast, the NWS said in a report early Wednesday morning. Wind chills in Mississippi are expected to be as low as -20˚F.

Up north in North Dakota, drifting snow is expected this afternoon and evening as winds kick up, making travel dangerous, the NWS said.

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