3 Big Things Today, September 16, 2020

Soybeans Rise Overnight; EPA Ruling Pleases Ethanol Producers, Miffs Refiners.

1. Soybeans Higher Overnight on Weather and Demand

Soybeans were higher in overnight trading as colder weather moves into the Midwest while the region remains dry and on persistent demand for U.S. supplies.

Some frost may appear overnight tonight in some northern Iowa and southern Wisconsin counties, the National Weather Service said. Areas of frost also are likely on Thursday night north of Interstate 94.

Freeze warnings and frost advisories are in effect for extreme northern Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Some light rains may favor southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois today, but otherwise most of the Corn Belt will be dry, according to forecaster Maxar.

The good news is the dry weather will help dry down corn and beans that are ready for early harvesting, the forecaster said.

Prices may also be getting a boost from continued demand for U.S. products. Exporters sold 132,000 metric tons of soybeans to China and another 132,000 tons to an unnamed country, the Department of Agriculture said in a report.

Exporters also sold 120,000 metric tons of corn to an unknown destination, the USDA said.

Soybean futures for November delivery rose 4¼¢ to $9.95¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soymeal gained $2.20 to $321.40 a short ton, and soy oil rose 0.11¢ to 34.26¢ a pound.

Corn futures for December delivery fell ½¢ to $3.65½ a bushel.

Wheat futures for September delivery added ¼¢ to $5.38½ a bushel, while Kansas City futures rose 1¼¢ to $4.69¼ a bushel.

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2. EPA Ruling Garners Praise From Ethanol Industry, Angers Refiners

The Environmental Protection Agency earlier this week sided with ethanol producers and corn farmers and denied waivers sought by oil refiners that wanted to forgo federal requirements to blend ethanol into gasoline.

The EPA denied 54 waiver requests, some of which dated back to 2011, after last year angering the farm lobby by approving dozens of waivers.

In January, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals said the EPA had been inappropriately giving waivers allowing refiners to circumvent obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Monday’s denial of the waivers was lauded by farm groups and lawmakers from corn-producing states while oil refiner groups, not surprisingly, called it a “betrayal.”

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) said it “welcomed” the decision by the EPA to deny the 54 “gap-year” petitions by acknowledging that it would be “inappropriate” to grant the waivers retroactively after the refiners already had complied with the standard.

“Rejecting the petitions is simply the right thing to do, and today’s decision marks a big step forward toward fully restoring integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard,” RFA Chief Executive Officer Geoff Cooper said in a statement. “This should serve as the final nail in the coffin of these gap-year petitions, and we are eager to put this dark and sordid chapter in the history of the RFS behind us once and for all.”

The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) was less pleased with the decision. The association said it’s “laughable” that the EPA is following the rule of law.

“Telling ethanol interests everything they want to hear in a press release is not going to increase the amount of ethanol that gasoline can absorb or do anything to help farmers and ethanol producers,” the AFPM said in a statement. “EPA knows this. And now they need to answer how they plan to correct the 2020 RFS volumes artificially inflated because of small refinery exemptions that will no longer be granted, and how they will protect consumers and U.S. energy security by ensuring 2021 standards are achievable.”

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3. Freeze Warnings Issued in Minnesota While Gulf Coast Slammed by Hurricane Sally

Extremely cold weather is creeping down into the U.S. as freeze warnings and frost advisories are in effect for parts of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures fell to as low as 26°F. overnight in some northern Minnesota counties, the NWS said in a report early this morning. That may have put some crops in danger.

A frost advisory also is in effect until 8 a.m. in parts of northern Wisconsin with temperatures dropping as low as 32°F.

Along the Gulf Coast, meanwhile, Hurricane Sally is slamming parts of Alabama and Florida this morning. Hurricane, flash flood, storm surge, and even tornado warnings are in effect for the area, the NWS said.

Winds are expected to peak at 55 to 65 mph with gusts of up to 80 mph, but still have the potential to reach up to 110 mph, the agency said.

From 4 to 8 inches of rain are expected with some locally higher amounts possible.

“Extreme rainfall flooding may prompt numerous evacuations and rescues,” the NWS said. “Rivers and tributaries may overwhelmingly overflow their banks in may places with deep moving water.”

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