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3 Big Things Today, May 15

Soybean Higher in Overnight Trading; U.S. Corn Growers Stay Busy as 62% Seeded.

1. Soybeans Higher on Inspections, Easing Tensions With China

Soybeans were higher overnight on rising export inspections and optimism that the U.S. and China can work out a trade pact.

Export inspections of the oilseeds for overseas delivery rose to 688,195 metric tons in the week that ended on May 10, the USDA said in a report. That’s up from 535,210 a week earlier and 285,013 tons during the same week in 2017.

Traders are more optimistic that a trade spat between the U.S. and China can be resolved after President Trump said he wants to save Chinese jobs at tech company ZTE. China has reportedly said it is more willing to negotiate if the U.S. backs off penalties against the firm.

Wheat futures also rose amid strong export inspections, which rose to 404,180 metric tons last week, up from 332,086 seven days earlier. Corn inspections declined, falling to 1.55 million tons from 1.92 million the prior week, according to the USDA.

Soybean futures for July delivery rose 1½¢ to $10.19¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal futures fell $1.50 to $386.10, and soy oil gained 0.04¢ to 31.29¢ a pound.

Wheat for July delivery rose 2½¢ to $4.93¾ a bushel overnight, while Kansas City futures added 1¾¢ to $5.11½ a bushel.

Corn futures gained 2¼¢ to $3.98¾ a bushel.

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2. Corn Producers Planted Almost a Quarter of Entire U.S. Corn Crop Last Week                           

Corn producers had another busy week in the fields, as they got almost a quarter of the U.S. crop into the ground.

Planting as of Sunday was 62% complete, up from 39% just seven days earlier, the USDA said in a report. After a slow start, seeding is now only a single percentage point behind normal for this time of year, according to the USDA.

In Iowa, 65% is planted, just behind the prior five-year average of 70%, and in Illinois, 90% is in the ground, well head of the 70% average for this time of year. Iowa and Illinois are the biggest U.S. corn producers.

About 28% of the corn crop has emerged from the ground, topping the average of 27%, the USDA said. That’s up from just 8% a week earlier.

Soybeans were 35% planted as of Sunday, well above the average pace of 26% for this time of year. Growers had 15% planted a week earlier. Ten percent was emerged, topping the average of 6%, according to the government.

The condition of the U.S. winter wheat crop improved to 36% good or excellent from 34% a week earlier. In Kansas, the biggest winter wheat grower, 14% was rated good while 1% was considered excellent, the USDA said.  

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3. Thunderstorms Bring Rain, Hail to Central Midwest, Precipitation Possible in Southern Plains

Thunderstorms are likely in parts of Iowa and Illinois today with some severe weather expected, the National Weather Service said in a report early Tuesday morning.

The primary risks are hail and lightning. The storms likely will form over parts of northern and central Illinois, the eastern half of Iowa, and a bit of northeastern Missouri, according to the NWS.

Flooding, which has been ongoing for some time, will continue along the Mississippi River and portions of the Wapsipinicon River. Storms are also on tap for the weekend, meaning there’s little relief in sight for flooded areas.

Some rain is in the forecast for parts of the Southern Plains as storms roll through the area, according to the NWS.

There’s a 40% chance of precipitation in the Oklahoma panhandle on Wednesday and Thursday. If the forecasts for rain come to fruition, that’d be a timely shot of moisture for the area, which has been extremely dry for several months.

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