3 Big Things Today, September 20
1. Corn, Beans Again Little Changed Overnight Amid Uncertain Yields
Corn and soybeans were again little changed overnight as investors are unsure what yields will bring.
The harvest season started out in earnest about two to three weeks ago, and initial reports were that yields were not good. Last week, however, reports came in that showed yields were better than expected.
With uncertainty about what growers will find as the harvest moves out of fringe states into bigger-producing areas, investors aren’t sure whether to buy, sell, or hold, analysts said.
Along with uncertain yields, a delayed harvest also has traders on edge. The corn crop was only 7% collected as of Sunday, behind the prior five-year average of 11%.
In Iowa, 1% was harvested vs. an average of 6% for this time of year, and in Illinois, 5% was in the bin compared with the average of 13%, according to the USDA. Iowa and Illinois are the biggest producers of both corn and soybeans.
Corn for December delivery rose ¾¢ to $3.49 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.
Soybeans for November delivery gained 3½¢ to $9.69 a bushel overnight. Soy meal futures added $1.60 to $310.30 a short ton, and soy oil declined 0.03¢ to 34.73¢ a pound.
Wheat for December delivery added 1½¢ to $4.44½ a bushel in Chicago, while Kansas City futures rose 1½¢ to $4.43½ a bushel.
2. Export Inspection So Far This Marketing Year Not Good For Corn, Favorable For Soybeans
While things look bleak for corn sellers, they're pretty rosy for soybean exporters as the USSDA earlier this week released its Export Inspections Report for the second week of the marketing year that started on September 1.
The USDA inspected 676,819 metric tons of corn or export to overseas buyers in the week that ended on September 14, a slight bump from the prior week when it inspected 676,243 tons. While the increase is nice, the agency inspected almost 1.3 million tons during the same week a year earlier.
But wait, there’s more.
Export inspections in the first two weeks of the marketing year totaled 1.35 million metric tons, less than half during the same time frame in 2016, according to the USDA.
Soybean demand has fared much better.
Inspectors reviewed 928,575 metric tons of the oilseeds for delivery to overseas buyers. That was down from the 1.11 million tons a week earlier, but up from 761,146 tons inspected during the same week a year earlier, according to the USDA.
So far this year, the government has inspected 2.04 million metric tons for delivery to importers, up from 1.91 million during the same period in 2016.
Wheat demand since the start its marketing year on June 1 has been surprisingly robust.
Inspectors have reviewed 8.72 million metric tons of U.S. wheat for delivery to overseas buyers this year, up from 8.58 million a year earlier, according to the USDA.
3. Hurricane Maria Set to Slam Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico Starting This Morning
Hurricane Maria is set to slam the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico this morning, the second major storm to hit the islands this month.
“Maria’s core will make landfall over Puerto Rico within the next couple of hours, bringing life-threatening winds, storm surges, and rainfall impacts to the island,” the National Hurricane Center said in a report at 5 a.m. local time.
A hurricane warning also is in effect for the Virgin Islands and the north coast of the Dominican Republic, Turks, and Caicos, and the southeastern Bahamas as heavy rainfall, dangerous winds, and storm surges are expected the NHC said.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Jose continues to produce dangerous surf conditions and rip currents along with heavy rainfall across the northeast U.S. The effects of the storm are expected to last for at least another couple of days.