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3 Big Things Today, March 30, 2023

Grains, Soybeans Higher Overnight; Weekly Ethanol Production Increases

1. Grain, Soybean Futures Rise in Overnight Trading

Grain and soybean futures were slightly higher in overnight trading on positive signs for demand for U.S. supplies.

Exporters announced sales of 204,000 metric tons of the grain to China, the second large sale announced to the Asian country in as many days, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

On Tuesday, exporters reported sales of 136,000 metric tons of corn to China, USDA said. They also reported sales of 112,800 metric tons to an unnamed country on Monday.

Also underpinning prices overnight is Cargill's decision to stop exporting Russian grain starting in July amid increasing challenges related to exports from the country.

Still, the company said it wouldn't sell its assets in grain terminals or port silos in the country, according a report from S&P Global. Cargill is the sixth-largest exporter of Russian grain, and from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023, is forecast to export about 2.2 million metric tons of grain from the country, the firm said.

Viterra also will halt shipments of Russian grain, Bloomberg reported yesterday, citing people familiar with the matter.

That likely will boost opportunities for exporters of U.S. supplies.

Corn futures rose 312 cents to $6.54 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Wheat futures for May delivery added 3 cents to $7.07¾ a bushel, while Kansas City futures gained 7¾ cents to $8.78¼ a bushel.

Soybean futures for May delivery were up 312 cents to $14.80¾ a bushel. Soybean meal gained $1 to $459.20 a short ton and soy oil added 0.11 cents to 55.49 cents a pound.

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2. Ethanol Production Moves Back Above Million Barrels a Day

Ethanol output last week moved narrowly above a million barrels a day, on average, while inventories dropped, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.

Production of the biofuel increased to an average of 1.003 million barrels a day in the week that ended on March 24, EIA data shows.

That's up from 997,000 barrels a day the previous week.

In the Midwest, by far the biggest producing region, output was up to 956,000 barrels per day, on average, from 954,000 barrels the previous week, the agency said.

Gulf Coast production improved to an average of 20,000 barrels per day from 16,000 barrels a week earlier, the EIA said.

That was the entirety of the gains as the remaining regions were unchanged week-to-week.

East Coast production was steady at 11,000 barrels, Rocky Mountain output also remained at 11,000 barrels, and West Coast yield was unchanged at 5,000 barrels per day, the government said.

Ethanol stockpiles in the seven days through March 24 fell to 25.527 million barrels from 26.188 million the previous week.

That's the lowest level in three weeks, the EIA said in its report.


3. Snow Expected in Northern U.S., Southern Plains Windy and Dry

Winter weather advisories and storm watches have been issued for much of South Dakota, central Minnesota, and northwestern Wisconsin, according to National Weather Service maps.

Heavy snow is forecast tonight through tomorrow evening in the western half of South Dakota where 6 or more inches are possible, the NWS said in a report.

Winds of up to 50 mph are expected.

In northern Minnesota, freezing rain and snow are expected tonight, though accumulations are only forecast at about an inch, the agency said. Ice accumulations of up to a tenth of an inch are possible.

High wind and Red Flag warnings have been issued for much of the southern Plains including southwestern Kansas and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, the NWS said.

Winds will be sustained from 30 to 40 mph and gusts of up to 60 mph are in the forecast, the agency said. A blowing-dust advisory also has been issued through 9 p.m. CDT tonight.

"Damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines," the NWS said. "Sporadic power outages are expected. Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles. Blowing dust will make hazardous driving conditions through reduced visibility."

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