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3 Big Things Today, November 1

Soybeans, Grains Little Changed Again; Grassley Says Leaving NAFTA is a Bad Idea.

1. Soybeans, Grains Again Little Changed Overnight as Fundamentals Unchanged

To say the grain and soybean markets are stuck in a range would be an understatement, as futures were again little changed in overnight trading.

Little has changed on the fundamental front as the harvest continues. Corn collection is finally more than half done but still well behind the average pace for this time of year; the soybean harvest is on its normal pace.

While the slow pace of the harvest may be of concern for some, the reported strong yields in much of the Midwest have kept a lid on prices.

Soybean demand has been decent so far this year, and a monthly crush report from the USDA, set to be released after the close today, will show whether domestic demand has been better or worse on a monthly basis.

The USDA report is expected to show about 145 million bushels of soybeans were processed in September, according to a survey of analysts by Reuters.

Soybean futures for January delivery rose 2¢ to $9.86¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal added a dime to $311.90 a short ton, and soy oil gained 0.16¢ to 34.91¢ a pound.

Corn futures for December delivery rose ½¢ to $3.46¼ a bushel in Chicago.

Wheat for December delivery fell 1¼¢ to $4.17¼ a bushel in Chicago. Kansas City futures declined 2¢ to $4.14½ a bushel.

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2. Pulling Out of NAFTA Would Be Bad For U.S. Growers, Crop Prices, Grassley Says

Pulling out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would be a bad idea for U.S. producers who are already facing low crop prices, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) told reporters on Tuesday.

Grassley reiterated remarks he’s made in the past that with corn, soybean, and wheat prices already low, it wouldn’t be wise to invoke Article 2205, which would allow the U.S. to pull out of NAFTA in six months, as it would further curb exports of U.S. supplies.

While the idea hasn’t been formally introduced, it’s been floated around within the administration and may be used as a negotiating tactic by the president.

Considering Mexico is one of the biggest export markets for U.S. agriculture, ending NAFTA would exacerbate the current downturn in prices, Grassley said.

Not that he doesn’t want to renegotiate NAFTA, he said, but only in ways that get Americans a better deal.

The NAFTA talks have been through several rounds already and are entering a more important stage as the end of the year approaches. They hit a bit of an impasse last month when the U.S. negotiator accused Canada and Mexico of obstructing movement on the renegotiation.

The countries will meet again on November 17 in Mexico to try to hash out their differences. They’re scheduled to meet several times in the first quarter of 2018 to try to come to an agreement.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said after the dustup last month that he’s “surprised and disappointed” by the resistance he said he faced from Canada and Mexico. So far, he said he’s seen no willingness on the part of either country to make material changes that will rebalance or reduce what he calls “huge trade deficits.”

President Trump has vowed to end NAFTA if all sides can’t come to an agreement.

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3. Snow-Rain Mix Expected in Eastern Midwest Today, More Storms Expected Through Weekend

After a round of freezing weather, snow and rainfall are expected in parts of the eastern Midwest today, according to the National Weather Service.

Snow is expected to mix with rain showers early this morning, making for some slick roads, the NWS said in a report early Wednesday morning.

That front will move off but give way to another round of storms tomorrow that will last through Monday. Gusty winds, lightning, and briefly heavy rain are possible with these storms, according to the agency.

Farther west, a front containing a winter storm and high winds is parked in Wyoming this morning but likely will move east in coming days. Winter storm warnings, watches, and other weather advisories are in effect for the region today, NWS maps show.

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