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3 Big Things Today, March 26, 2020

Soybeans, Grains Lower Overnight; Ethanol Production Drops Near Five-Month Low.

1. Soybeans and Grains Decline in Overnight Trading

Soybeans and grains were lower in overnight trading as some investors sold their bullish bets and booked profits, and amid ongoing concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

Bean prices jumped more than 20¢ on Monday, but have lost a few cents since.

About 480,450 cases have been confirmed worldwide, and the death toll is now up to 21,570, according to Johns Hopkins University. That’s up from 428,405 cases and 19,120 deaths yesterday.

In the U.S., the number of cases is now above 69,000, and the death toll is up to more than 900, a drastic increase from 55,225 cases and 700 deaths a day earlier.

The Senate on Wednesday approved in a 96-0 vote a $2 trillion stimulus package to boost the economy after several days of negotiations.

Soybean futures for May delivery dropped 9¢ to $8.72½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal lost $2.90 to $318.80 a short ton, and soy oil fell 0.10¢ to 26.54¢ a pound.

Corn futures fell 3¾¢ to $3.44¾ a bushel overnight.

Wheat futures for May delivery declined 6½¢ to $5.73½ a bushel, while Kansas City futures fell 5½¢ to $4.95½ a bushel.

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READ MORE: Corn trades lower, soybeans higher Thursday

2. Ethanol Production Drops to Near a Five-Month Low While Stockpiles Shrink

Ethanol production plunged to the lowest level in almost five months last week, and inventories also declined, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Output of the biofuel in the seven days that ended on March 20 was reported at an average of 1.005 million barrels a day, the EIA said.

That’s down from 1.035 million barrels a week earlier, but up from the 1.004 million barrels, on average, produced during the same week a year earlier.

It’s also the lowest level since October 25, government data show.

All of the losses were in the Midwest, where production feel to an average of 934,000 barrels a day from 968,000 the previous week.

West Coast output was unchanged at 13,000 barrels a day, the agency said.

East Coast production rose to 25,000 barrels a day from 24,000 barrels, Gulf Coast output increased to 19,000 barrels a day from 17,000, and Rocky Mountain production rose to 14,000 barrels a day from 13,000 a week earlier, the EIA said.

Stockpiles, meanwhile, declined to 24.14 million barrels on March 20 from 24.598 million a week earlier, the lowest level since January 31, according to the government.

In other news, the weekly Export Sales Report from the USDA is due out this morning.

Analysts are expecting corn sales from 900,000 to 1.9 million metric tons, soybean sales from 400,000 to 900,000 metric tons, and wheat sales from 350,000 to 950,000 tons, according to researcher Allendale. **

3. Fog and Rain Are Expected in the Northern Midwest, While Dry Weather Hits Eastern Colorado

Fog is expected to reduce visibility to less than ½ mile in parts of western Iowa, southwestern Minnesota, northeast Nebraska, and southern South Dakota this morning, according to the National Weather Service.

The area also will see rain heading into the weekend with up to 2 inches expected on Saturday, the NWS said in a report early this morning. Winds also will be strong with gusts of up to 50 mph.

Flooding already is a problem with the Big Sioux River and the James River over their banks from north of Huron south to Yankton. Just above Yankton, the James River is already at almost 15 feet, well above flood stage of 12 feet, the agency said.

Farther south, a red-flag warning is in effect for much of eastern Colorado and a couple of counties in western Kansas.

Winds will be sustained at 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 45 mph, the NWS said. Relative humidity is expected to fall to 15%, creating tinderbox-like conditions.

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