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3 Big Things Today, March 8, 2022

Chicago Wheat Surges Overnight; Export Inspections of Corn, Beans Rise.

1. Wheat Futures in Chicago Again Jump in Overnight Trading

Chicago wheat futures hovered around record highs, again surging in overnight trading after jumping last week as Russian attacks on Ukraine persist.

Kansas City futures were lower overnight.

About 2 million people have fled Ukraine due to the ongoing attacks and Russia yesterday threatened to close a major gas pipeline into Germany.

Russian attacks on civilian targets including hospitals were on the rise, according to the World Health Organization.

More sanctions may be on the way as global leaders ponder a ban on Russian oil. European countries were planning to unveil a new round that would include more Russian politicians and oligarchs and three banks in Belarus, Reuters reported.

Civilians are reportedly fleeing Ukrainian cities, following humanitarian corridors. Two prior attempts to get civilians out of harm’s way failed when Russia suggested moving them into Russia or Belarus, a move that was rejected by Ukraine’s government.

Still, Ukraine officials said Russia is attempting to “disrupt” the evacuation.

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 due to the attacks, and Russia already has taken over several cities where shipping facilities are located. Few countries are buying Russian wheat.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, or FAO, said last week that its food-price index hit a record 140.7 points in February, up almost 4% month-to-month and 21% year-over-year.

Cereal prices were up 3% from January and about 15% from February 2021. World wheat prices rose by 2.1%.

Wheat for May delivery jumped 15¼¢ to $13.09¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures dropped 21¼¢ to $12.30½ a bushel.

Corn futures for May delivery fell 11¼¢ to $7.39½ a bushel. 

Soybean futures for May delivery rose 13¾¢ to $16.73¼ a bushel. Soymeal was up $4.40 to $463.10 a short ton, and soybean oil futures gained 0.53¢ to 74.75¢ a pound.

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2. Corn and Soybean Inspections Rise Week-to-Week

Inspections of corn and soybeans for overseas delivery rose week-to-week while wheat assessments declined, according to the USDA.

Corn inspections in the week that ended on March 3 rose to 1.58 million metric tons from 1.56 million tons the previous week, the agency said in a report.

Still, that’s down from the 1.68 million tons examined during the same week last year.

Soybean assessments last week were reported at 766,250 metric tons, up from 738,266 tons and ahead of the 665,547 examined at the same time in 2021, the government said.

Wheat inspections, meanwhile, declined to 343,463 metric tons from 429,984 tons a week earlier. That’s also down from the 523,205 tons inspected during the same week last year.

Since the start of the marketing year on September 1, the USDA has inspected 24.8 million metric tons of corn for offshore delivery. That’s down from the 27.9 million metric tons examined during the same time frame a year earlier, the government said.

Soybean assessments since the beginning of September are now at 41.4 million metric tons, down from 52.8 million tons during the same period last year.

Wheat inspections since the start of the grain’s marketing year on June 1 now stand at 15.9 million metric tons, down from 18.7 million tons at the same point in 2021, the USDA said in its report.

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3. Winter-Storm Warnings, Watches Issued in Western Nebraska

Winter-storm warnings and watches have been issued for much of western Nebraska and parts of eastern Wyoming as snow and ice are expected, according to the National Weather Service.

The warning is for the southern Nebraska panhandle where 5 to 8 inches of snow are forecast tonight into early Thursday, the NWS said in a report early this morning. The winter-storm warning is in effect from 5 p.m. tonight through 5 a.m. Thursday.

“Dangerous travel conditions possible due to icy, snow-packed roads and reduced visibilities in falling and blowing snow,” the agency said.

Wind chills could fall as low as -15˚F.

In North Dakota, meanwhile, a winter-weather advisory is in effect until 6 p.m. tonight, the NWS said.

Snow accumulations will top out at about 1 inch due to winds that will gust as high as 50 mph, the agency said. Visibility likely will be reduced by the wind and snow.

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