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3 Big Things Today, October 20

Soybeans Higher in Overnight Trading; Corn, Wheat Export Sales Strong Last Week.

1. Soybean Futures Higher Overnight on Signs of Demand, Corn Little Changed

Soybeans were higher overnight on signs of demand for U.S. supplies along with concerns about Argentina’s crop. Corn was little changed.

The USDA yesterday reported private sales of 384,000 metric tons of soybeans for delivery to China in the 2017-2018 marketing year that started on September 1. Weekly export sales were within the range of expectations, also underpinning prices.

The U.S. harvest delays are also notable, though drier weather this week has allowed growers in some areas to get back into fields to continue or finish collecting their crops. Still, rain is expected to return in parts of the western and central Corn Belt this weekend.

Yields have been reportedly pretty good in many areas, which will keep prices in a trading range, analysts said.

In Argentina, soy planting may decline as excessive rain falls in growing areas, which also may boost prices.

Soybean futures for November delivery rose 2¼¢ to $3.48½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal gained 50¢ to $321.90 a short ton, and soy oil added 0.14¢ to 33.97¢ a pound.

Corn futures for December delivery fell ½¢ to $3.48½ a bushel overnight.

Wheat for December delivery gained 1¼¢ to $4.34 a bushel in Chicago. Kansas City futures added 1¼¢ to $4.30½ a bushel.

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2. Exporters Report Strong Corn, Wheat Sales; Soybeans Within Expectations

Grain sales were strong in the week that ended on October 19, while soybean sales were within the range expected by analysts.

Exporters sold 1.25 million metric tons of corn to overseas buyers last week, the USDA said in a report. While that’s down 21% from the prior week, it’s up 58% from the previous four-week average and on the top end of expectations for 700,000 to 1.4 million tons.

Mexico was the biggest buyer at 510,100 metric tons, followed by Japan at 233,800 tons. Honduras was in for 132,200 tons, Peru bought 117,200 tons, and Colombia purchased 98,100 tons.

Wheat sales totaled 615,400 tons, up noticeably from the previous week and a 75% increase from the prior four-week average, the USDA said. Analysts had expected sales from 200,000 to 400,000 tons.

Mexico was again the big buyer at 180,000 tons, followed by China at 120,000 tons, and unknown destinations, which took 94,000 tons. Japan was in for 65,100 tons and Iraq bought 50,000 tons that had previously been destined for Turkey.

Soybean exporters sold 1.28 million metric tons last week, and while that was within the range expected of 1.1 million and 1.8 million tons, it was down 27% from the previous week and 36% from the average, according to the government.

China was, as usual, the biggest buyer at 1.17 million tons. Pakistan was next at 70,800 tons, Germany took 66,600 tons, Turkey purchased 65,700 tons, and the Netherlands bought 52,700 tons.

The total would have been higher, but unknown buyers canceled a shipment for 317,400 tons, and Costa Rica canceled a contract for 41,500 tons, the USDA said.

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3. Extremely Dry Weather Raises Fire Risk in Kansas, South Dakota as Rain Returns Tomorrow

The central U.S. has seemingly gone from too wet to too dry in a matter of days, as the risk of wildfires is extremely higher in several states.

In Kansas, strong southerly winds are expected to drive the grassland fire-danger index into the very high category this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. A wind advisory is in effect for much of the area this evening.

Starting tomorrow, however, severe thunderstorms are expected to fire up over the region with winds up to 70 mph, golf ball-size hail, and heavy rain, the NWS said in a report early Friday. Flooding may be possible in low-lying areas.

A red-flag warning is in effect for much of eastern Montana and western South Dakota, as wind gusts up to 35 mph combined with relative humidity of 10% to 18% make for tinder-box conditions.

A strong cold front will move through the area tonight that will cause winds to shift to the northwest, the NWS said.

Farther east, some nonsevere thunderstorms are possible starting this evening in central Iowa. Storms are expected Saturday with a slight risk that they will be severe. Moderate to heavy rainfall locally is expected this weekend.

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