3 Big Things Today, March 30
1. Chicago Board of Trade Closed to Observe Good Friday
The Chicago Board of Trade is closed in observance of Good Friday. Overnight trading will resume on Sunday, April 1.
2. Export Sales of Soybeans Tanked Last Week, China Not Mentioned in 2017-2018
Export sales of soybeans were dismal last week, while corn and wheat sales were within the expected range, according to the USDA.
Soybean sales in the seven days that ended on March 22 totaled 317,500 metric tons, down 58% from the previous week and 77% from the prior four-week average, the USDA said in a report.
The Netherlands was the big buyer at 113,600 metric tons, followed by Indonesia at 106,500 tons. South Korea was in for 51,400 tons and Egypt purchased 42,800 tons.
Analysts had pegged sales from 600,000 to 900,000 tons.
Conspicuously absent was China, by far the biggest global importer of soybeans, which wasn’t mentioned in sales for 2017-2018. The Asian country, however, bought 69,700 metric tons for the 2018-2019 marketing year that starts on September 1, the USDA said.
The U.S. and China have been involved in an ongoing trade dispute after the U.S. imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and last week threatened to put more duties on $50 billion to $60 billion worth of goods from China.
China responded with threats to impose tariffs on $3 billion worth of U.S. goods. Soybeans weren’t on the list of items it is considering, but analysts and traders worried that it would be a victim if a trade war were to break out, and it seems China may be making a point by not purchasing any U.S. beans in the current marketing year.
Corn sales were solid at 1.35 million metric tons, though that’s down 8% from the prior week and 28% from the four-week average, the USDA said.
South Korea was the biggest buyer at 623,100 tons, followed by Mexico at 208,000 tons, and Japan at 183,400 tons. Peru bought 147,000 tons and Colombia was in for 102,300 tons. The total would’ve been higher but an unknown buyer canceled a shipment for 283,200 tons, according to the agency.
Wheat sales last week totaled 353,800 metric tons, up 33% from the previous week and 40% from the average, the USDA said.
Japan bought 105,800 tons, Nigeria was in for 76,200 tons, Indonesia took 49,600 tons, the United Arab Emirates purchased 36,000 tons, and Algeria bought 31,800 tons, according to the government. Analysts had pegged sales from 200,000 to 400,000 tons.
3. Eastern Midwest Storm Leaves Flooding in Wake; Northern U.S. Getting Hit By Winter Storm
The large storm that’s been wreaking havoc on the eastern Midwest this week has finally broken up, but it left a lot of damage and flooding in its wake.
Flood warnings have been issued in at least 10 states after the storm dumped several inches of rain in an area stretching from central Texas to southern Ohio.
The most widespread flooding seems to be in Missouri where at least a dozen counties in the southern part of the state are under flood warnings.
Farther north, meanwhile, a large winter storm is snaking its way across parts of North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, weather maps show.
A winter storm warning is in effect for much of the area, where up to a foot – possibly more locally – of snow is possible starting today, the NWS said. Winds will gust up to 45 mph, making travel extremely difficult.
Temperatures are forecast to drop with wind chills as low as -20˚F., the agency said.