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3 Big Things Today, January 3

Soybeans Slightly Lower Overnight; Export Inspections Show Bean Shipments Higher.

1. Soybeans Modestly Lower Overnight on Trade Uncertainty

Soybeans were slightly lower in overnight trading on uncertainty over export sales and some profit taking.

The partial government shutdown is now in its 13th day, with no end in sight, meaning the USDA’s Weekly Export Sales Reports and daily reporting system are both on hold for the foreseeable future.

Without concrete data, some traders are taking a step back from buying until there’s more confirmation that China and other customers are making purchases of U.S. supplies.

Soybean futures overnight neared a two-week high, which may have led some investors to book profits with so much uncertainty in the markets.

Soybeans for March delivery fell 2¢ to $9.05 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal lost 70¢ to $314.20 a short ton, and soy oil added 0.11¢ to 28.29¢ a pound.

Corn was down ½¢ to $3.75¼ a bushel overnight.

Wheat was up 1¢ to $5.07¾ a bushel, while Kansas City futures gained 2¢ to $4.94½ a bushel overnight.  

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2. Export Inspections Report Released Earlier This Week Despite Shutdown

While it’s not known exactly how much corn, soybeans, or wheat overseas customers are buying at the moment due to the partial government shutdown, the USDA is still publishing some export data.

The agency’s Weekly Export Inspections Report was released earlier this week, and it showed assessments of soybeans were up in the seven days through December 27, while corn and wheat were both lower.

Soybean inspections totaled 677,679 metric tons, up from 665,544 tons the previous week, the USDA said in its report that appeared on Monday. That’s still well below the 1.21 million tons assessed during the same week a year earlier.

Examinations of corn were reported at 913,797 metric tons, down from 996,769 tons seven days earlier but up from the 726,499 tons inspected during the same week in 2017.

Wheat inspections were reported at 376,281 metric tons, down from 577,950 tons but up from the 275,069 tons assessed during the same period the previous year, the USDA said.

Since the start of the marketing year on September 1, inspections of soybeans are still well below the year-earlier pace. The government has inspected 16.5 million metric tons for overseas delivery, down from 28.4 million during the same time frame a year earlier.

Corn inspections, meanwhile, have surged as the USDA has inspected 17.9 million metric tons of the grain since the beginning of September, up from 10.6 million the previous year.

Wheat assessments since the start of the grain’s marketing year on June 1 are down year over year, falling to 12.7 million metric tons vs. the 14.6 million tons inspected during the same period a year earlier, according to the government.

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3. Winter Storm Warning in Effect For Oklahoma and North Texas as Ice, Snow, Sleet Expected

A winter storm warning is in effect for much of south-central Oklahoma and parts of northern Texas this morning as freezing rain, sleet, and snow are forecast through early tomorrow.

An ice glaze of up to .2 of an inch, snow accumulations of as much as 8 inches, and light freezing rain and sleet are all forecast for the region, according to the National Weather Service.

“Moderate to heavy snowfall is expected most of the day Thursday,” the NWS said in a report early this morning. “Travel conditions will worsen through the morning hours Thursday. Travel will likely become very difficult throughout the day.”

The winter storm warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Friday morning, the agency said.

A winter weather advisory associated with the storm stretches from central Texas north to the Oklahoma-Kansas border and east into northwestern Arkansas.

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