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3 Big Things Today, March 1
1. Wheat Falls as Investors Book Profits, Beans Steady on Argentina
Wheat futures declined overnight as investors and hedgers take a breather from buying after prices hit multimonth highs, though soybeans were underpinned by continued concerns about Argentina.
Kansas City wheat for May delivery rose to the highest level since August. That may have caused some investors to sell their contracts and book profits. It’s also spurred some analysts and brokers to suggest selling wheat from inventories, which, in turn, would add to local and global supplies.
Rabobank in a note raised its outlook for wheat prices by about 10¢ a bushel this year amid concerns about the drought in the Southern Plains, where little or no rain has fallen in at least three months.
Soybeans rose on ongoing worries about dry weather in Argentina. A government official earlier this week suggested the crop was hurt due to the lack of rain, and analysts at JPMorgan said about $3.1 billion has been shaved off the value of the country’s crop.
Wheat for May delivery fell 3¼¢ to $4.91¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures lost ¾¢ to $5.21½ a bushel.
Soybean futures for May delivery added ¼¢ to $10.55¾ a bushel overnight. Soymeal fell $4.50 to $390.20 a short ton, and soy oil lost 0.17¢ to 32.06¢ a pound.
Corn futures for May delivery fell 2¢ to $3.80 a bushel overnight.
2. Ethanol Production Declines, Inventories Increase; Export Sales Report Due Today
Ethanol production fell last week while inventories in storage increased, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Output of the biofuel in the seven days that ended on February 23 averaged 1.044 million barrels a day, the EIA said in a report. That’s down from 1.068 million a week earlier, but still relatively strong.
The total last week was close to the average production of 1.044 million barrels a week since the start of the year, government data show.
Stockpiles, meanwhile, rose to 22.979 million barrels from 22.753 million barrels a week earlier. The total is below the 23.052 million-barrel weekly average for the first two months of 2018, according to the EIA.
In other news, the USDA is scheduled to release its Weekly Export Sales Report this morning. Analysts have pegged corn sales from 1 million to 1.4 million metric tons, soybean sales from 400,000 to 700,000 tons, and wheat sales from 200,000 to 500,000 tons, according to Allendale.
3. Flood Warnings, Flash Flood Watches Issued in Arkansas, Mississippi as Rain Hammers Area
Flash flood watches and flood warnings are in effect in much of central Arkansas, northern Mississippi, and southeastern Kentucky as a storm rolls through the area.
Strong storms are forecast today, bringing rain to an area that’s already seen a lot of flooding, according to the National Weather Service.
“Runoff from heavy rainfall will continue to cause widespread flooding of rivers and tributaries,” the NWS said in a note early Thursday morning. “Most rivers are forecast to rise into elevated flood stages over the next few days. Lowland flooding is expected to persist, as well.”
As much as 3 inches of rain have fallen in the past 24 hours in affected areas and another 3 inches are expected through this morning, the agency said.
Flood warnings also continue in parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio today.
“Extensive river flooding” continues in parts of western and southern Indiana this morning as several rivers have or are expected to wash over their banks. Rainfall today may prolong high water and cause higher crests in southern Indiana, the NWS said.