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3 Big Things Today, April 5, 2024

1. Wheat futures surge in overnight trading

Wheat futures surged in overnight trading on some technical buying and concerns about global crops. 

Investors who were short the market, or had bet on lower prices, likely bought back contracts after futures hit resistance in recent trading. 

Speculators had raised their bearish positions in both hard red winter and soft red winter wheat last week, leading some to believe the contracts are oversold. 

About 78% of Kansas, the biggest producer of winter wheat in the country, was seeing extremely dry weather or drought conditions as of April 2, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. That’s up from 64% a week earlier. 

Thirty eight percent of Oklahoma was suffering from dryness or drought, up from 34% seven days earlier, the monitor said. 

Wheat in the Black Sea region is seeing dry weather, potentially curbing crops in Ukraine and Russia. 

Some rainfall is expected in Belarus, but dryness is expected to continue in southeastern Ukraine and central and southern Russia, said Don Keeney, an agricultural meteorologist with Maxar. 

Wheat futures for May delivery jumped 16 1/4¢ to $5.72 1/2 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, and Kansas City futures gained 9 1/2¢ to $5.87 a bushel. 

Corn futures were up 3¢ to $4.38 1/4 a bushel. 

Soybean futures for May delivery gained 1 1/2¢ to $11.81 1/2 a bushel. Soymeal fell 40¢ to $333.10 a short ton and soy oil rose 0.21¢ to 48.36¢ a pound. 

2. Export sales down across the board

Sales of soybeans and grains to overseas buyers declined week to week, according to data from USDA. 

Soybean sales in the seven days that ended on March 28 dropped to 194,200 metric tons, down 26% from the previous week and 54% from the prior four week average, the agency said in a report. 

China was the big buyer at 153,900 metric tons, followed by Egypt at 97,000 tons and the Netherlands at 57,500 tons. South Korea bought 25,200 tons and Japan was in for 18,400 tons. 

The total would’ve been higher but an unnamed country canceled shipments of 235,000 tons, the government said. 

Exports for the week fell 30% to 549,100 tons. 

Corn sales for export were down 21% from both the previous week and the average to 948,000 tons, USDA said. 

Japan took 339,900 tons from U.S. supplies, Mexico purchased 216,500 tons, Colombia bought 150,400 tons, South Korea was in for 149,200 tons and Taiwan bought 109,800 tons of U.S. corn. 

An unknown destination canceled orders for 258,400 tons and Canada nixed shipments of 65,900 tons, the agency said. 

Exports for the week were reported at 1.64 million tons, the highest since the marketing year started on Sept. 1, up 33% from the previous week. 

Wheat sales were reported at 16,100 metric tons, down 95% week to week and 89% from the four week average, the government said. 

China bought 74,800 tons, Mexico was in for 19,50 tons, Venezuela purchased 12,700 tons, Costa Rica took 7,600 tons and Thailand bought 4,400 tons. 

South Korea canceled shipments for 60,000 tons and an unnamed country nixed purchases of 52,700 tons. 

Exports of U.S. wheat for the week rose 27% to 517,800 tons, USDA said in its report. 

3. Dry weather expected in southern Plains, North Dakota

Weather maps are lit up this morning with dry weather in the western and northern Corn Belts and cold weather in the central and eastern Midwest. 

In the southern Plains, red flag warnings have been issued due to extremely dry conditions. In southwestern Kansas and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, winds today will be sustained from about 25 to 35 mph with gusts of up to 50 mph in the forecast. 

Relative humidity will drop as low as 11%.

In much of North Dakota, winds also will range from 25 to 35 mph and gust up to 50 mph, the agency said. Humidity will fall to around 25% this afternoon. 

“Any fires that ignite will spread rapidly and become difficult to control or suppress,” NWS said. 

High wind warnings have been issued for much of Nebraska and Kansas. 

In southern Missouri and Illinois, meanwhile, freeze warnings will take effect late tonight and run into tomorrow morning, the agency said. 

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