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3 Big Things Today, March 4, 2022

Wheat, Corn Futures Surge Overnight; Export Sales Decline Week-to-Week.

1. Wheat Futures Limit Up, Hit Fresh 14-Year High

Wheat futures jumped the most allowed on the Chicago Board of Trade overnight as Russian attacks on Ukraine continue to intensify.

Russian troops have attacked several cities including Kharkiv, the second-largest in Ukraine, and Mariupol and have taken over a nuclear power plant. Soldiers attacked the power plant, sparking fears of a nuclear accident, but officials say radiation levels are normal.

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said on social media that it’s a war crime to attack a nuclear power plant.

A video shows a Russian military strike on an apartment complex in the town of Chernihiv, reinforcing accusations that Moscow is attacking civilian targets.

The ongoing Russian attack on Ukraine is disrupting shipments of products including wheat out of both countries.

Russia is the world’s largest exporter of the grain while Ukraine ranks third, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Australia is the second-biggest exporter of wheat and the U.S. is the fourth-largest, USDA data show.

Ports in Ukraine are shut with several cities being attacked by Russian forces and Russian products are being shunned globally.

Wheat for May delivery jumped 75¢ to $12.09 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures were up 75¢ to $12.25¼ a bushel.

Futures are up 41% this week so far and are now at the highest in 14 years.

Corn futures for May delivery surged 24¼¢ to $7.72 a bushel. 

Soybean futures for May delivery rose 4¾¢ to $16.72½ a bushel. Soymeal was up $9.10 to $462.50 a short ton, and soybean oil futures fell 1.43¢ to 73.38¢ a pound.

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2. Weekly Soybean and Grain Export Sales Decline

Sales of soybeans and grains for overseas delivery dropped in the seven days that ended on February 24, according to a report from the USDA.

Soybean sales last week were reported at 857,000 metric tons, down 31% from the previous week and 34% from the prior four-week average, the agency said.

An unnamed country bought 345,900 metric tons, Egypt took 178,000 tons, Italy was in for 92,000 tons, Taiwan purchased 69,400 tons, and Mexico took 63,000 tons from U.S. inventories, government data show.

Exports for the week came in at 751,000 metric tons, down 40% week-to-week.

Sales for delivery in the 2022-2023 marketing year that starts on September 1 totaled 1.39 million metric tons as China bought 1.26 million tons, the Ag Department said.

Corn sales plunged to 485,100 metric tons last week, down 53% from a week earlier and 47% from the average.

Japan was the big buyer at 320,400 metric tons, followed by Mexico at 180,200 tons and Colombia at 125,400 tons, the USDA said. The Dominican Republic bought 48,400 metric tons and Canada purchased 34,000 tons from U.S. supplies.

The total would have been higher but unknown destinations canceled cargoes totaling 274,600 tons.

Exports for the week were reported at 1.55 million metric tons, down 18% week-to-week, the government said.

For the 2022-2023 marketing year, corn sales totaled 222,800 metric tons.

Wheat sales dropped 42% from the previous week to 300,000 metric tons, the agency said. The total, however, was up 54% from the prior four-week average.

Mexico purchased 90,100 metric tons, Japan was in for 66,900 tons, Taiwan took 56,300 tons, Colombia was in for 40,100 tons, and the Philippines purchased 36,700 tons.

Exports for the week totaled 364,800 tons, down 33% from the previous week.

Sales of U.S. wheat for delivery in the 2022-2023 marketing year that starts on June 1 came in at 69,800 metric tons, the USDA said in its report.

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3. Wintry Mix Expected in Northern U.S., Dry Weather Forecast in Southern Plains

Cold weather is expected into the weekend in much of the northern Midwest while dry weather is forecast in the southern Plains, according to the National Weather Service.

In much of South Dakota and a few counties in northern Nebraska, snow and mixed precipitation are forecast tonight into Saturday with total snow accumulations from 1 to 4 inches, the NWS said. A glaze of ice also is expected.

 In northern Wisconsin, freezing rain is expected into the weekend causing “substantial icing” and making travel dangerous, the agency said in a report early this morning.

In southwestern Kansas, the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, eastern Colorado and much of New Mexico, red-flag warnings have been issued amid dangerously dry weather, the NWS said.

Maximum winds are expected at about 40 mph today with relative humidity from 15% to 20%, the agency said.

“Critical fire weather conditions are expected across the western and central Oklahoma panhandle and the western Texas panhandle,” the NWS said.

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