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3 Big Things Today, October 19

Soybeans, Corn Slightly Higher Overnight; Ethanol Production Rebounds From Year Lows

1. Soybeans, Corn Higher on Argentina Planting, U.S. Harvest as Prices Rangebound

Soybeans and corn were slightly higher in overnight trading, rebounding from yesterday’s losses, on concerns about planting in Argentina and the slow pace of the harvest in the U.S.

Argentina’s soy planting may take a hit this year due to excessive rainfall this growing season. That’s not expected to change as rain is forecast in the country’s producing areas through today. The six- to 10-day outlook calls for more precipitation, though the rain is expected to be lighter than it has been, forecasters said.

In the U.S., only 28% of the corn crop was collected as of Sunday, well below the average of 47% for this time of year, according to the USDA. The soybean harvest was 49% complete, down from the average of 60%, the USDA said.

While growers are expected to get more of their crops in the bin due to some dry weather this week, rain is in the forecast in some areas late next week – mostly in the eastern Corn Belt – which may further slow the harvest, Commodity Weather Group said.

Soybean and grain prices have been in a thin range lately, and that will likely continue as bulls have little buying conviction and bears don’t want to sell with prices so low, and speculators are exiting the market looking for greener pastures, said Paul Georgy from Allendale in an early Thursday note.

Soybean futures for November delivery rose 1¾¢ to $9.86 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal gained $1.20 to $323 a short ton, and soy oil was unchanged at 33.41¢ a pound.

Corn futures for December delivery rose 1¼¢ to $3.49¾ a bushel overnight.

Wheat for December delivery rose ¾¢ to $4.30¾ a bushel in Chicago. Kansas City futures added ¾¢ to $4.28¾ a bushel.


2. Ethanol Production Rebounds From 52-Week Low, Should Help Demand

Ethanol production in the U.S. rebounded in the seven days that ended on October 13, continuing a pattern and bouncing off a 52-week low the prior week.

Ethanol output last week averaged 1.019 million barrels a day, up from 967,000 a week earlier, according to a report from the Energy Information Administration. That was the lowest production level since the first week of October 2016, EIA data show.

Production rose 2.1% year over year for the same week and slightly better than the gains needed to meet the USDA’s goal of using 5.475 billion bushels of corn for the biofuel, said Tomm Pfitzenmaier with Summit Commodity Group in Des Moines, Iowa.

“This was a nice recovery from two of the previous three weeks,” he said. “The good news is that ethanol producers continue to see solid margins, and that should help support that aspect of the corn demand.”

Ethanol stockpiles, meanwhile, were little changed week to week, falling to 21.48 million barrels from 21.523 million a week earlier, according to the EIA.


3. Flood Warning, Red Flag Issued For Same Parts of West-Central Minnesota

It’s unusual to see a red-flag warning and a flood warning on the same weather map, but that’s what’s happening in west-central Minnesota this morning.

The Minnesota River at Montevideo was at 14.8 feet as of 8 p.m. Wednesday, topping flood stage for the river of 14 feet, according to the National Weather Service. The river is expected to stay near that level tonight and gradually recede below flood stage on Monday, the NWS said in a report.

The area surrounding the flooded area, however, is in a red-flag situation in which excessively dry weather is causing fire concerns.

The warning has been issued for several counties in west-central Minnesota as wind gusts are forecast around 30 mph while humidity levels will drop below 25% this afternoon. The warning may need to be expanded if strong, gusty winds materialize farther east, according to the NWS.

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