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3 Big Things Today, October 20, 2022

Wheat Futures HIgher Overnight; Ethanol Output Jumps to Two-Month High

1. Wheat Futures Surge in Overnight Trading

Wheat futures surged in overnight trading after a Russian official reportedly said he was not optimistic that the grain deal keeping agricultural products flowing out of Ukraine will be renewed.

Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, said Russia wants its part of the deal to come to fruition, or an extension of the agreement brokered in July allowing safe passage from Ukrainian ports is unlikely, according to a report from the Anadolu Agency, a news company based in Turkey.

He didn't elaborate on exactly what Russia wanted, but government officials have complained about sanctions placed on the country since it attacked Ukraine in February.

The grain deal, which was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, is set to expire next month.

About 345 ships carrying 7.7 million metric tons of cargo have left Ukrainian ports as part of the agreement, called the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the UN's Joint Coordination Center said this week.

Wheat futures for December delivery rose 11 ¾¢ to $8.53 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures gained 11 ½¢ to 9.53 ¼ a bushel.

Soybean futures for November delivery added 8¢ to $13.90 ¾ a bushel. Soymeal rose $5.80 to $407.50 a short ton, while soybean oil gained 0.61¢ to $71.25 a pound.

Corn for December delivery was up 3 ¾¢ to $6.81 ¾ a bushel.

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2. Ethanol Output Rises to Two-Month High, EIA Says

Ethanol production last week jumped to the highest level in more than two months, while inventories declined slightly, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.

Output in the seven days that ended on Oct. 14 rose to an average of 1.016 million barrels a day amid broad-based regional gains, EIA said in a report.

That's up from the previous week's average of 932,000 barrels a day, and the highest since the week that ended on Aug. 5.

In the Midwest, by far the biggest producing region, production jumped to 961,000 barrels per day from 881,000 barrels the previous week, the agency said. That's also the highest since early August.

 Production also rose on the East Coast, where output averaged 13,000 barrels per day last week, up from 10,000 barrels a week earlier. That marks the highest level for the region since Aug. 26.

Gulf Coast output improved to 19,000 barrels a day from 17,000 barrels the previous week, the government said.

Rocky Mountain production increased to an average of 15,000 barrels — the highest in just over a month — from 14,000 barrels a week earlier.

West Coast output increased to an average of 9,000 barrels a day versus 8,000 barrels, the agency said.

Ethanol inventories, meanwhile, fell slightly to 21.844 million barrels in the week through Oct. 14. That's down from 21.863 million barrels a week earlier, EIA said in its report.

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3. Extremely Dry Weather Leads to Red-Flag Warnings in Northern Plains

Extremely dry weather has led to red-flag warnings being issued for much of Montana and parts of North and South Dakota, according to the National Weather Service.

In southwestern North Dakota and northwestern South Dakota, winds will be sustained from 10 to 20 mph, with expected gusts of up to 30 mph, NWS said in a report early this morning.

Relative humidity will drop as low as 15%.

"The combination of gusty winds, low humidity, and cured fine fuels could result in critical fire weather conditions over portions of north-central South Dakota," the agency said.

Red-flag warnings also have been issued in parts of southern Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana.

Winds from 13 to 17 mph are expected, along with relative humidity down to about 13%, will lead to tinderbox-like conditions, NWS said.

Freeze warnings are still in effect from Indiana south, to the Gulf of Mexico, and east from Arkansas to the Atlantic Ocean.

In central Indiana and western Ohio, temperatures overnight were forecast to fall to as low as 27 degrees Fahrenheit. The freeze warning in the area will expire at 10 a.m. local time.

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