3 Big Things Today, March 13, 2020

Soybeans, Grains Higher Overnight; Export Sales of Corn Surge Week to Week.

1. Soybean and Grain Futures Higher in Overnight Trading

Soybean and grain futures were higher in overnight trading, as bargain hunters claw back some of the recent losses.

It’s been a long week for producers, traders, and other market-watchers as the spread of the coronavirus has wreaked havoc on markets.

Soybeans on Thursday lost 20¢, corn was down almost 9¢, and wheat was off by more than 7¢. Equity markets also lost big yesterday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping 10% and the S&P 500 down 9.5%.

Investors who were short the market, or bet on lower prices, also may be buying back contracts and closing their positions.

Markets all week have been spooked by the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19. The number of confirmed cases worldwide is now at 128,343 and the death toll has reached 4,720. That’s up from 126,660 and 4,641, respectively, a day earlier.

Travel into the U.S. from Europe by non-American citizens and permanent residents has bene banned, almost all of the major sporting leagues have suspended or canceled their seasons, and Disney closed its theme parks in Anaheim and Orlando.

Soybean futures for May delivery rose 7¢ to $8.66½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal added $1.80 to $304.60 a short ton, and soy oil gained 0.38¢ to 26.76¢ a pound.

Corn futures rose 3¾¢ to $3.69½ a bushel overnight.

Wheat futures for May delivery added 2¢ to $5.07½ a bushel, while Kansas City futures gained 3½¢ to $4.36¼ a bushel.

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READ MORE: Ag markets bounce higher Friday 

2. Export Sales of Corn Jump Week to Week, While Beans and Wheat Decline

Export sales of corn surged in the week that ended on March 5, while bean sales plunged to a marketing-year low. Wheat sales also declined.

Sales of corn to overseas buyers jumped 91% week to week to 1.47 million metric tons, according to the USDA. The total also was up 53% from the prior four-week average.

Analysts had expected sales from 600,000 to 1.3 million metric tons, according to researcher Allendale.

Japan was the big buyer at 750,500 metric tons, followed by South Korea at 198,400 tons, and an unknown buyer at 178,800 tons, the USDA said.

Mexico purchased 163,800 metric tons and Colombia bought 56,200 tons. Peru cancelled cargoes of 50,000 tons, the agency said.

Soybean sales, meanwhile, were reported at 302,800 metric tons last week, a marketing-year low, down 12% from the prior week and 34% from the average for this time of year.

Analysts had pegged sales from 400,000 to 825,000 metric tons.

Japan bought 120,000 metric tons, Indonesia took 95,400 tons, and the Netherlands was in for 64,700 tons. Colombia purchased 33,700 tons and Mexico bought 22,000 tons, the USDA said.

Wheat sales for delivery in the current marketing year that ends on May 31 fell 17% week to week to 452,300 metric tons. That’s also down 6% from the four-week average.

Analysts had forecast sales from 225,000 to 675,000 metric tons.  

South Korea took 144,600 metric tons, the Philippines was in for 111,900 tons, Japan bought 77,400 tons, Mexico purchased 43,400 tons, and Nigeria took 35,000 tons. An unknown buyer canceled a purchase of 33,200 tons, the agency said.

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3. Winter Storms Expected to Hit Much of Nebraska and Montana Starting Friday Afternoon

A major winter storm is expected to slam parts of Nebraska starting this afternoon and lasting into tomorrow, according to the National Weather Service.

Heavy snowfall is expected that will bring 4 to 6 inches of snow to the area, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

A winter storm warning is in effect for several counties starting at 4 p.m. central and lasting until Saturday evening.

As much as 5 inches of snow are expected to fall in much of the rest of the state and in parts of northwestern Kansas and southwestern South Dakota, the agency said. Road conditions are expected to be dangerous.

A separate winter storm is forecast to hit much of Montana starting this evening with up to 10 inches of snow forecast. Locally higher amounts are possible, and wind gusts of up to 35 mph are expected, the NWS said.

The winter storm warning issued for the area will start at 6 p.m. local time tonight and last through 5 p.m. Sunday.   

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