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3 Big Things Today, March 1, 2022

Grains, Beans Surge in Overnight Trading; Weekly Export Inspections Decline

1. Grain, Bean Futures Again Jump in Overnight Trading

Wheat futures surged and corn and soybean futures again jumped in overnight trading as the war between Russia and Ukraine escalates further.

Russia continued its assault of Ukraine, bombing the country's second-largest city Kharkiv for another day.

The city's opera house, a concert hall and government buildings were hit, according to media reports. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia was committing war crimes by bombing residential areas of the city.

The Russian attack has now lasted six days with no end in sight as troops continue to move toward the capital city of Kyiv.

Ukraine forces and civilians have repelled some of the initial attack, but experts have warned that could lead to an escalation of bombings by the Russians.

Grain ports in Ukraine are shut and few countries are buying Russian wheat, creating a dearth of supplies on the global market.

Buyers will have to seek other suppliers including Australia, Argentina and the U.S.

Russia is the world's largest exporter of wheat, followed by Australia and Ukraine. The U.S. is the fourth-biggest exporter of the grain, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Russia and Ukraine combined also account for about 20% of the world's corn exports.

Wheat for May delivery jumped 47 3/4¢ to $9.81 ¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures were up 47¢ to $10 a bushel.

Corn futures for May delivery gained 23 1/4¢ to $7.14 a bushel. 

Soybean futures for May delivery surged 41 3/4¢ to $16.78 ½ a bushel. Soymeal was up $6.30 to $452.60 a short ton and soybean oil futures added 3.1¢ to 75.62¢ a pound.

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2. Soybean Export Inspections Drop Week-to-Week, USDA Says

Inspections of soybeans for offshore delivery plunged, and corn and wheat assessments declined in the seven days that ended on Feb. 24, according to a report from the USDA.

Soybean inspections last week totaled 735,278 metric tons, down from 1.04 million tons the previous week, the agency said.

The total also was down from the 1 million tons examined during the same week a year earlier.

Corn assessments were reported at 1.54 million metric tons, down from 1.58 million tons a week prior and well below the 2.05 million tons examined during the same week last year, the USDA said.

Wheat inspections last week came in at 406,138 metric tons, down from 570,859 tons the previous week. The total was still higher than the 343,005 tons examined at the same point in 2021, government data show.

Since the start of the 2021-2022 marketing year on Sept. 1, the USDA has examined 23.2 million metric tons of corn for overseas delivery, down from the 26.2 million tons assessed during the same timeframe a year earlier.

Soybean inspections since the beginning of September are now at 40.6 million metric tons, down from 52.1 million tons at the same point last year, the agency said.

Wheat assessments since the start of the grain's marketing year on June 1 are now at 15.5 million  metric tons, down from 18.1 million tons during the same period a year earlier, the USDA said in its report.


3. Freezing Rain Expected in Parts of North Dakota Tuesday

Light freezing rain is expected this morning in parts of North Dakota, according to the National Weather Service.

More freezing rain is possible this evening as well, the agency said.

A glaze of ice is expected, which likely will make travel hazardous in the state, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

In the southern Plains, meanwhile, dry weather will lead to wildfire concerns into the weekend, the NWS said.

"Elevated to critical fire weather conditions are possible Thursday through Saturday across the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles due to windy conditions and low relative humidity," the agency said.

In the central Midwest, heavy rains recently have led to some flooding.

The Mississippi River at New Madrid, Mo., will reach "minor" flood levels this week due to the recent rainfall, the NWS said. The river is expected to reach flood stage this morning and continue to rise through Friday.

Rivers also will overrun their banks along the southern Indiana border, the agency said.

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