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3 Big Things Today, May 20, 2022

Wheat, Corn Futures Lower Overnight; Export Sales of Soybeans Surge.

1. Wheat, Corn Futures Lower in Overnight Trading

Wheat and corn futures fell in overnight trading as investors who were long the market, or bet on higher prices, seem to be selling contracts and liquidating their positions amid talks of reopening Ukraine trade and India continuing to ship grain.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said this week that he is in “intense” talks with several countries including Ukraine, Russia, the United States, and members of the European Union to restart agricultural shipments from Ukraine.

Exports from the country, which was expected to be the third-largest shipper of wheat before the Russian attacks began, could resume shipments through “alternative transportation routes,” he said.

Russia is the world’s biggest shipper of wheat.

India late last week said it would ban exports of the grain in a bid to ensure domestic supply, but this week reversed course and said it would honor commitments already made.

The original ban on exports caused prices to jump, but they fell back after India said it would limit its restrictions and continue to ship wheat that previously had been ordered.

The uncertainty about global trade likely has led speculators to take some contracts off the table.

Investors also are keeping an eye on the Kansas Wheat Tour that wraps today. On their second day in the hard-red winter wheat fields, crop scouts forecast an average yield of 37 bushels an acre in southwestern Kansas. That’s down from a forecast for the region for 56.7 bushels a year earlier.

Wheat for May delivery lost 13¼¢ to $11.87¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade while Kansas City futures dropped 15¼¢ to $12.80 a bushel.

Corn futures were down 7¢ to $7.76¼ a bushel.

Soybean futures for July delivery fell 1½¢ to $16.89 a bushel. Soymeal lost $1.30 to $424 a short ton, while soybean oil futures added 0.62¢ to 80.15¢ a pound.

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2. Weekly Export Sales of Beans and Corn Jump

Export sales of beans and corn surged off marketing-year lows in the week that ended on May 12, according to data from the USDA.

Soybean sales were reported at 752,700 metric tons, up from 143,700 tons a week earlier, which was the lowest level since the 2021-2022 marketing year started on September 1, the agency said in a report.

China bought 392,600 metric tons, the Netherlands took 84,600 tons, Egypt purchased 58,300 tons, Taiwan was in for 55,500 tons, and Bangladesh bought 55,000 tons.

The total would have been higher but an unnamed country canceled cargoes of 110,800 tons, the government said.

For the 2022-2023 marketing year, sales came in at 149,500 metric tons. Exports for the week jumped to 957,200 tons, up from 471,700 tons a week earlier.

Corn sales also jumped, rising to 435,300 metric tons from 192,700 tons, which also was the smallest level since the beginning of September, the USDA said.

Taiwan purchased 64,900 tons, South Korea took 59,500 tons, China was in for 59,300 tons, Guatemala bought 49,500 tons, and Canada took 40,000 tons from U.S. supplies.

An unknown destination nixed shipments of 24,700 tons, Colombia canceled orders for 7,300 tons, and Japan scrapped purchases of 6,500 tons, the agency said.

Sales for delivery in the 2022-2023 year were reported at 588,500 metric tons. Corn exports for the week fell 8% to 1.38 million metric tons.

Wheat sales for the week through May 12 dropped to 8,500 metric tons, the lowest since the grain’s marketing year started on June 1 and down 82% from the prior four-week average, the USDA said.

That’s not terribly surprising as the marketing year ends on May 31.

Mexico bought 37,000 metric tons, Venezuela purchased 29,400 tons, Nigeria was in for 28,200 tons, Taiwan took 2,500 tons, and Vietnam bought 2,000 tons.

Colombia canceled shipments for 39,900 tons, an unnamed country nixed cargoes of 27,300 tons, and South Korea scratched an order for 25,500 tons, the agency said.

Sales for the 2022-2023 marketing year that starts on June 1 came in at 325,600 tons, and exports for the week jumped 44% to 345,400 metric tons, the USDA said in its report.

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3. Freeze Warnings and Watches Issued For North Dakota, Minnesota

North Dakota and much of northern Minnesota will see some cold weather as freeze warnings and watches have been issued for the region, according to the National Weather Service.

Freeze warnings will take effect overnight as temperatures from 27°F. to 32°F. are expected, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

In northern Minnesota, freeze watches and frost warnings will be in effect from late tonight through Saturday morning, the NWS said.

Temperatures will drop as low as 30°F.

Farther south in parts of southeastern Missouri and southwestern Illinois, meanwhile, thunderstorms are possible into the weekend, the agency said.

No severe weather is expected tonight, though some strong storms may rumble through the region Saturday into Sunday morning.

“A few strong to severe storms with large hail and damaging winds cannot be ruled out, mainly in the late afternoon and evening,” the NWS said. “Otherwise, locally heavy rainfall and lightning will be the primary concern.”

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