3 Big Things Today, September 23, 2020

Corn Futures Lower Overnight; Chinese Ag Ministry Optimistic on Grain Crops.

1. Corn Futures Modestly Lower in Overnight Trading

Corn was slightly lower in overnight trading on harvest pressure while beans and wheat were little changed.

The U.S. corn harvest is officially underway with about 8% of the crop in the bin as of Sunday, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The bulk of the harvest has been, unsurprisingly, in southern states including Texas and North Carolina. Iowa farmers have collected 4% of their corn while the Illinois harvest is 4% complete, the USDA said in a report on Monday.

About 6% of U.S. soybeans have been harvested, the agency said. In Iowa, 7% is in the bin while in Illinois only 1% of the harvest has been finished.

Iowa and Illinois are the biggest growers of corn and soybeans in the U.S.

Offsetting the harvest pressure, however, is continued demand from China for U.S. agricultural products.

Exporters said in a report yesterday that the Asian nation purchased 140,000 metric tons of corn and 260,000 tons of soybeans for delivery in the 2020-2021 marketing year. That marks the 10th straight session China reportedly bought U.S. products.

The USDA also reported that an unnamed country bought 320,000 metric tons of corn and 264,000 tons of beans from U.S. supplies.

Corn futures fell 2¢ to $3.67¼ a bushel in overnight trading on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Soybean futures for November delivery rose ½¢ to $10.20¼ a bushel. Soymeal added $2.80 to $343.80 a short ton, and soy oil dropped 0.41¢ to 33.19¢ a pound.

Wheat futures for September delivery fell 1½¢ to $5.56½ a bushel, while Kansas City futures gained ½¢ to $4.92¼ a bushel.

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2. China’s Ministry of Agriculture Optimistic About Corn Crop, Commerzbank Says

China’s Agriculture Ministry is positive on the country’s spring grain crops this year amid favorable weather and a bit more acreage, according to a report from Commerzbank.

Corn and other grains grown in the Asian nation have seen their fair share of rain, though storms caused some damaged in the northeastern Corn Belt, analyst Michaela Helbing-Kuhl said in a report on Wednesday.

That led the government to reduce its outlook for the spring harvest. Corn production likely will be only slightly larger year-over-year, if at all, Helbing-Kuhl said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture in a report earlier this month pegged the Chinese corn crop at 260 million metric tons for the 2020-2021 marketing year.

That’s actually down from the previous year’s output of 260.77 million metric tons last year, but slightly ahead of the 257.33 million tons produced in the 2018-2019 marketing year, according to data from the USDA.

The International Grains Council also has pegged the crop at around 260 million tons, Commerzbank said.

China may need more corn to feed its improving hog herd, Helbing-Kuhl said in her report. In recent weeks, Beijing has increased purchases of U.S. agricultural products with exporters reporting sales to the Asian country in each of the past 10 business days.

“The revival of demand as hog stocks are replenished following the African swine fever outbreak has driven up Chinese corn prices,” she said. “China is stepping up imports – which at the same time are helping to meet its obligations under the Phase 1 deal with the U.S. – in an attempt to curb the price dynamism.”

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3. Rain Forecast For Parts of Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin While Dry Weather Expected in Nebraska

Some rain is finally in the forecast in parts of northeast Iowa, southeastern Minnesota, and central Wisconsin, according to the National Weather Service.

“A few thunderstorms are possible late tonight, mainly north of Interstate 90,” the NWS said in a report early this morning. “Severe weather is not expected.”

More storms are possible tomorrow in the area, also most likely north of I-90. The agency said there’s the potential for thunderstorms every day through early next week.

Still, in parts of northeastern Nebraska into central South Dakota warm and dry conditions, along with strong winds, will increase fire danger that could lead to grass or crop fires, the NWS said.

The dry conditions are expected to persist through the weekend as winds will gust Friday through Sunday, the agency said.  

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