3 Big Things Today, November 20
1. Soybeans, Grains Little Changed Ahead of Thanksgiving
Soybeans and grains were little changed ahead of Thanksgiving as the traders who are around ponder whether the U.S. and China will, in fact, reach a trade agreement.
Thanksgiving week is always slow on the Chicago Board of Trade, and this week investors aren’t quite sure what to make of the latest news out of China.
Earlier this month, it seemed trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies had cooled, with President Trump saying he’d had a conversation with China President Xi Jinping and that a trade accord would be reached.
Since then, however, China sent a letter with an opening offer to Washington, but it reportedly didn’t include many of the major trade changes the U.S. wanted to see. At the Asia-Pacific Economic Summit, which ended Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence said China has “taken advantage of the United States” for many years, reiterating a common refrain from the administration.
China’s Xi said in a speech that there are no winners in a trade war. The APEC Summit ended without a joint communique for the first time in 25 years.
Whether talks will continue between the countries or whether they’ll fail is still to be seen, and traders, at least this week, don’t seem willing to take a big stance one way or the other.
Soybeans for January delivery rose ¼¢ to $8.74 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal futures gained $1 to $306.50 a short ton, and soy oil added 0.05¢ to 27.37¢ a pound.
Corn futures for December delivery gained ½¢ to $3.62¾ a bushel overnight.
Wheat for March delivery gained 1½¢ to $5.08 a bushel overnight, while Kansas City futures rose ½¢ to $4.99¼ a bushel.
2. Exports Inspections of Corn, Soybeans Lower Week to Week, Wheat Gains
Export inspections of corn and soybeans plunged week to week, while wheat was the surprise gainer, according to the USDA.
Assessments of corn for overseas delivery in the seven days that ended on November 15 totaled 797,459 metric tons, down from 1.16 million tons a week earlier, the USDA said in a report. The total is still up from the 678,621 tons inspected during the same week last year.
Soybean inspections were reported at 1.06 million metric tons, down from 1.36 million a week earlier and 2.28 million last year, the government said.
Inspections of wheat for delivery to offshore buyers totaled 509,118 metric tons, up from 345,741 tons last week and almost double the same seven-day period a year earlier.
Despite the weekly decline, inspections of corn since the start of the marketing year on September 1 have been extremely strong. The USDA said so far it’s assess 11.9 million metric tons of the grain for overseas delivery, up from 6.64 million during the same time frame last year.
Soybean inspections, however, are well lower at 11 million tons, down from 19.3 million tons during the same period in 2017, government data show.
Wheat assessments since the start of the grain’s marketing year on June 1 have totaled 9.81 million metric tons, down from 12 million last year, the USDA said.
3. Small Snowfall Accumulations Expected in Northern Illinois, southern Michigan
Snow is expected in northern Illinois and the southern half of Michigan today, though accumulations seem as if they’ll be small, according to the National weather Service.
In northern Illinois and parts of northwest Indiana, lake-effect snow showers are expected through late morning near Lake Michigan.
Accumulations, however, will only total about an inch, and no hazardous weather is expected from Wednesday through at least Monday, the NWS said in a report early Tuesday morning.
Scattered snow showers are forecast for the western half of Michigan today and tonight, mainly near the shore of Lake Michigan, the agency said. Some intermittent snowfall may make roadways slick on Wednesday morning before the weather system moves east.
In the eastern half of the state, only “light snow” is possible this morning. Accumulations of up to an inch are expected inland, while along Lake Huron snowfall may total as much as 2 inches, according to the NWS.