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3 Big Things Today, March 15

Soybeans Turn Higher Overnight; Ethanol Stockpiles Rise to Record, Production Declines

1. Soybean Higher Ahead of Reports Expected to Be Positive

Soybean futures were higher Thursday morning ahead of government and private reports that are expected to be positive.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will release its weekly export sales report this morning, and soybean sales are forecast to be strong.

A report from the National Oilseed Processors Association – the NOPA crush report – is expected to show processing of soybeans last month was up 4.7% year-over-year.

Argentina weather has been playing tricks on traders the past few days. Rain fell last night in some growing areas and another round of precipitation is expected during the weekend, according to forecasters. The question investors are asking is whether it’s too little too late.

Wheat futures were higher overnight on ongoing dry weather in the southern Plains.

Soybean futures for May delivery rose 7 ¼ cents to $10.39 ½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soymeal added $2.80 to $373.60 a short ton, and soy oil was up 0.12 cent to 31.83 cents a pound.

Wheat for May delivery gained 2 cents to $4.90 ¾ a bushel overnight while Kansas City futures added 4 cents to $5.28 ¾ a bushel.

Corn futures for May delivery rose 1 ¼ cents to $3.90 a bushel in Chicago.


2. Ethanol Stockpiles Jump to Record High, Production Lowest in a Month

Ethanol stockpiles jumped to the highest level on record last week while production declined.

Inventories of the biofuel in storage in the week that ended on March 9 totaled 24.281 million barrels, up from 23.144 million a week earlier and the most ever, the Energy Information Administration said in a report.

Stockpiles tend to rise through the first few months of the year, according to data from the EIA. Still, they’ve steadily climbed to the record this year.

Production, meanwhile, dropped last week to the lowest in a month, the agency said.

Output totaled 1.025 million barrels, on average, last week, down from 1.057 million a week earlier to the least since Feb. 9, according to the government.

In other news, the USDA will release its weekly export sale report this morning. Analysts expect corn sales from 1.3 million to 1.7 million metric tons, soybean sales from 800,000 to 1.2 million tons and wheat sales from 250,000 to 500,000 tons, according to Allendale.

The monthly NOPA crush report is also due out today with traders expecting 149.443 million bushels, up almost 5% year-over-year, the researcher said.


3. Red Flag Warnings Spread in Southern Plains as Dry Weather Continues

The area covered by red flag warnings in the southern Plains has expanded and now encompasses a large area stretching from southern New Mexico north to northern Colorado and east to eastern Kansas.

Relative humidity in the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles is expected to drop as low as 10% today with winds of up to 33 miles an hour, according to the National Weather Service.

“High fire danger across the Panhandles today due to low relative humidity and strong southwest winds,” the NWS said in a report early Thursday morning. “A wind advisory has also been issued for the western Panhandles.”

The area hasn’t received rain in at least three months and in some areas in six months, according to NWS precipitation maps. The southern Plains drought has worsened with some areas in an “exceptional drought,” the worst rating for the US Drought Monitor.

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