3 Big Things Today, May 17


1. Wheat, Corn Rise Overnight on Weather Delays

Wheat and corn futures were higher in overnight trading as wet weather keeps producers out of fields in the northern Plains and Midwest.

Double the normal amount of rain in parts of North Dakota, the biggest U.S. producer of spring wheat, and in South Dakota the past month has left spring wheat seeding well behind the average pace.

Some 45% of the crop was in the ground at the start of the week, down from the average pace of 67%, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In North Dakota, 37% of the spring wheat was in the ground, down from the prior five-year average of 58%. In South Dakota, 46% of the crop was planted, behind the average of 88%.

More than triple the normal amount of rain has fallen in the past 30 days in much of Kansas, Missouri and Illinois in the past 30 days, which has left corn planting behind normal.

Only 30% of U.S. corn was seeded as of Sunday, compared with the prior five-year average of 66%, the USDA said. Illinois growers were only 11% finished with planting versus the normal 82% for this time of year. In Iowa, 48% was in the ground compared with the average of 76%.

Soybean futures, meanwhile, declined amid ongoing concerns about trade with China. The Trump Administration effectively blacklisted Chinese tech firm Huawei from doing business with U.S. firms, which China said could escalate tensions.

Chicago wheat for May delivery gained 4 1/2¢ to $4.71 ½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City wheat added 5¢ to $4.21 ¾ a bushel.

Corn futures for May delivery rose 4 3/4¢ to $3.83 ¾ a bushel overnight.

Soybeans for May delivery fell 3 1/2¢ to $8.36 ¼ a bushel in Chicago. Soymeal lost $1.90 to $300 a short ton and soy oil dropped 0.18¢ to 27.54¢ a pound.


2. Corn, Soybean Sales Through May 9 Up Considerably Week-to-Week, USDA Says

Corn and soybean sales in the seven days that ended on May 9 were up considerably from the previous week’s dismal numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Sales of corn were up 92% weekly to 553,300 metric tons, the USDA said in a report. That’s still down 15% from the prior four-week average.

Analysts had expected sales from 300,000 to 900,000 metric tons, according to researcher Allendale.

The big buyer for the week was Colombia, which took 226,700 metric tons. Japan bought 93,800 tons, South Korea was in for 57,600 tons and Guatemala bought 36,400 tons. An unknown customer canceled a shipment for 67,200 tons, the government said.

Soybean sales totaled 370,900 metric tons, up from a net-loss the previous week, the USDA said.

Germany bought 122,000 metric tons, Indonesia bought 95,300 tons, unknown buyers took 38,500 tons, Japan was in for 28,500 tons and Taiwan purchased 23,900 tons from U.S. supplies.

Analysts had pegged sales from 300,000 to 1 million tons.

Wheat sales for the 2018-2019 marketing year that ends at the end of May totaled 114,500 metric tons, up 26% week-to-week but down 52% from the prior four-week average, according to the report.

Indonesia bought 88,500 tons, Iraq was in for 55,000 tons, the Philippines bought 51,500 tons, Vietnam purchased 39,000 tons and Italy took 33,800 tons. South Korea canceled a cargo of 144,900 tons and unknown buyers nixed a shipment of 120,100 tons.

Sales for the 2019-2010 year that starts on June 1 totaled 419,400 tons as South Korea bought 93,700 tons, Nigeria purchased 75,700 tons, Japan was in for 32,400 tons, an unknown customer took 31,400 tons and Brazil bought 30,000 tons, the USDA said.

Analysts had expected total sales from 150,000 to 600,000 tons.


3. Scattered Storms Expected in Iowa, Wisconsin; Rain, Potential Hail Forecast For Illinois, Indiana

Scattered thunderstorms are expected in parts of southeastern Minnesota, northeastern Iowa and pretty much all of Wisconsin today, according to the National Weather Service.

“Scattered storms will be seen across the area,” the NWS said in a report early this morning. “A few of these storms may be strong.”

Lightning and some hail are possible with the storms, the agency said. More storms are possible over the weekend with a few potentially severe Saturday afternoon and evening. Locally heavy rain in the region is likely, which could cause flooding in some areas that are already saturated.

Further south in Illinois and Indiana, a cold front is pushing south through the region today, which should allow some storms to produce locally heavy rainfall, the NWS said.

That could bring localized flooding near rivers and streams that are already close to flood stage due to the recent wet weather. Thunderstorms are expected to stick around tonight with some areas of northern Illinois and northern Indiana under the threat of large hail and damaging winds, the agency said.