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3 Big Things Today, November 23, 2022

Wheat Futures Fall Overnight; Bunge Gains Traction in France With BZ Stake

1. Wheat Futures Decline in Overnight Trading

Wheat futures were lower in overnight trading on concerns about increased global competition.

Soybean and corn futures were little changed.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, the agreement allowing shipments of agricultural products from Ukraine, that was renewed last week amid uncertainty over the future of the program continues to pressure prices.

It's not just shipments from Ukraine that are threatening to take market share from U.S. exporters.

Grain group FranceAgrimer said recently that farmers were almost finished with soft-wheat and barley sowing. Around 97% of wheat was in the ground along with 99% of the country's winter-barley area.

Almost all of the wheat and barley were in good or excellent condition, FranceAgrimer said.

Global wheat production was forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this month at 782.7 million metric tons.

That's up from a prior outlook for 781.7 million tons, and if realized would be an increase from the previous year's 779.4 million metric tons, USDA said.

Ongoing lockdowns due to COVID-19 in China also are weighing on prices.

The number of cases in the country have increased in several cities, including the capital of Beijing. More than 27,000 new cases were recorded on Monday, just shy of the one-day record for the country, according to multiple reports.

Wheat futures for December delivery fell 3¢ to $8.07 ¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures lost 3 ¼¢ to $9.08 ¾ a bushel.

Soybean futures for January delivery were up 1¼¢ to $14.31 a bushel. Soymeal added 40¢ to $405.40 a short ton, while soybean oil lost 0.19¢ to 71.25¢ a pound.

Corn for December delivery gained 2¢ to $6.61 ¼ a bushel.

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2. Bunge Buys 49% Stake in French Grain Company

Bunge said it will buy almost half of French grain company BZ Group to improve its presence at a port in northern France, leaving the Beuzelin family the majority stakeholder in the French company.

Bunge will own 49% of the company after the transaction, with the family owning the other 51%, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

"This partnership is expected to strengthen operational and commercial cooperation in an increasingly volatile and demanding market environment," Bunge said. "It will also provide the opportunity to expand the facility in the port terminal in Rouen, the largest cereal export facility in Western Europe."

Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

BZ Group, based in Normandy, France, purchased grains, oilseeds, and pulse crops from several farms in northwestern France that it ships through the port in Rouen.

Bunge said in a statement that its "global reach" combined with BZ's knowledge of the French market is a "natural evolution" of the relationship between the companies.

"This partnership ... offers the BZ Group and its teams great development prospects while staying true to its agricultural roots," BZ Group Chief Executive Florent Beuzelin said in a statement. "In the French landscape, we will continue to offer a differentiated positioning in the grain sector."

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3. Winter Storms Forecast in Texas Panhandle Into the Weekend

A winter storm watch has been issued in several counties in the Texas panhandle, according to the National Weather Service.

Heavy snow is possible starting on Thanksgiving Day and lasting through late Friday, NWS said in a report early this morning.

As much as 4 inches of snow is possible and winds will gust up to 35 mph.

"Travel could be very difficult," NWS said. "Visibility may fall below one-half mile at times."

In central Kansas, meanwhile, snow may fall starting Friday and last into the weekend, the agency said. The snow is expected to have little impact on travel

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