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3 Big Things Today, May 19, 2020

Grains, Soybeans Little Changed Overnight; Export Inspections of Corn Decline.

1. Grains and Soybeans Little Changed Overnight

Grains and soybeans were little changed in overnight trading, as investors weigh the rapid pace of planting against demand concerns.

Growers had 80% of the U.S. corn crop in the ground as of Sunday, up from 67% a week earlier and the prior five-year average of 71%, the USDA said in a report Monday.

About 43% of the crop has emerged, up from 24% a week earlier and the average of 40%.

Soybean planting was 53% complete, up from 38% a week earlier and the normal 38% for this time of year, the USDA said.

Some 18% of the crop had emerged by the start of the week, up from 7% seven days earlier and the previous average of 12%.

Spring wheat is the laggard this year at 60% planted, up from 42% a week earlier but well behind the five-year average of 80% for this time of year. Thirty percent of the crop was emerged as of Sunday, up from 16% week to week but down from the 46% average.

Demand is a concern as production at some meatpacking facilities in the U.S. are still operating at limited capacity and as ethanol production remains low.

About 700 more COVID-19 cases were reported near Amarillo, Texas, last week, according to media reports. A Tyson Foods plant in the city tested all of its employees and underwent additional cleaning over the weekend.

Ethanol production, meanwhile, has been rising, though gains have been slow. In the seven days that ended on May 8, output averaged 617,000 barrels a day. That’s up from 598,000 barrels a week earlier but is just off record lows set at the end of April.

Corn futures for July delivery rose ½¢ to $3.21¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Wheat futures for July delivery rose 1¢ to $4.98 a bushel, and Kansas City futures fell ½¢ to $4.45¾ a bushel.

Soybean futures gained ¼¢ to $8.45¼ a bushel overnight, while soy meal fell 20¢ to $285.30 a short ton, and soy oil lost 0.01¢ to 27.31¢ a pound. 

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2. Weekly Export Inspections for Corn, Beans Fall While Wheat Assessments Rise

Inspections of corn and beans for overseas delivery fell week to week, while wheat assessments improved, according to the USDA.

The government inspected 1.15 million metric tons of corn for offshore delivery in the seven days that ended on May 14. That’s down from 1.4 million tons a week earlier, but well above the 840,474 tons assessed during the same week the previous year.

Soybean assessments also declined, falling to 352,189 metric tons from 534,609 tons a week earlier and 498,122 tons during the same week in 2019, the agency said.

Wheat inspections, meanwhile, rose to 440,822 metric tons last week, up from 343,221 tons the previous week, but down considerably from the 838,956 tons examined at the same time last year, the USDA said.

Since the start of the marketing year on September 1, the USDA has inspected 26.2 million metric tons of corn for export, down from the 37.5 million tons assessed during the same period a year earlier.

Bean inspections since the start of September are now at 34.8 million metric tons, up from 33.2 million tons in the same time frame the previous year, the agency said.

Wheat assessments since the start of the grain’s marketing year on June 1 now stand at 23.9 million metric tons, slightly above the 23.7 million tons at the same point last year, the USDA said.  

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3. Flood Warnings in Effect Near Rivers in Illinois and Indiana This Morning

Flood warnings are in effect along several rivers in Illinois and Indiana this morning after rain caused rivers and streams to overrun their banks, according to the National Weather Service.

Rivers including the Illinois, Kishwaukee, and Vermilion are all above flood level, the NWS said in a report.

The Illinois River at LaSalle was at 30.5 feet late last night, well above flood stage of 20 feet, the agency said. The river is expected to continue rising until it hits 33 feet Tuesday night or Wednesday morning before it begins falling.

The Vermilion River at Leonore was at 23 feet Monday night, well above flood stage of 16 feet. It will crest at 23.6 feet this morning and is expected to fall below flood stage late Wednesday, the agency said.

Flash flood warnings are in effect in parts of Ohio this morning, as heavy rain falls in the state. At least 2 inches of rain have fallen, the NWS said. Another 2 inches are possible in some areas, which likely will cause streams to flood into low-lying areas, the agency said.

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