By Kirk Maltais
--Soybeans for November delivery fell 1.4% to $10 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade Thursday, falling below $10 per bushel intraday as the streak of USDA reporting of export sales to China ended.
--Corn for December delivery fell 1.4% to $3.63 1/2 a bushel.
--Wheat for December delivery rose 0.1% to $5.49 3/4 a bushel.
Streak Ends: The streak of flash sales of U.S. agriculture to China came to an end today, one factor pulling soybean futures below the $10 per bushel mark intraday Thursday. "I am afraid the streak has been broken as there were no new sales in the daily reporting system, but we continue to pile up the numbers in the weekly report," said Dan Hueber of the Hueber Report. At its highest point of nearly $10.50 per bushel, the most recent rally put soybean futures at their highest levels since May 2018. Today's weekly export sales report came in stronger than expected for soybeans, but traders focused more on the end of the streak.
Dollar General: The dollar index traded on the Intercontinental Exchange rose for four consecutive sessions, creating a drag on grains futures. The index began trading higher today, although it then turned lower in the afternoon. "The jump of the dollar is also reducing the competitiveness of the U.S. origins," said AgriTel. "This is especially concerning the wheat market in a context of a stiff international competition mainly with Black Sea countries."
Exceeding Expectations: This week's grain export sales report from the USDA shows high export totals for both corn and soybeans. For corn, export sales totaled 2.14 million metric tons, while soybean sales totaled 3.19 million tons. Both of these figures exceed the high end of estimates provided to The Wall Street Journal by grains traders, and both are driven largely by sales to China. "Robust soybean sales... pull crop-year commitments to 1.306 billion bushels, 61.4% of USDA's export projection and 193% above this time last year," said Terry Reilly of Futures International. The high sales provided fodder for traders believing that prices will ultimately move higher, despite the mostly downward movement of today.
Docile Weather: The U.S. harvest doesn't appear to have any threats coming to it by way of weather in the Corn Belt. "The Central U.S. forecast features spotty showers across the Eastern Midwest during the first half of next week but otherwise threats to harvest progress are lacking," said AgResource. Cooler temperatures are expected next week, but no freezes are anticipated, says the firm. "Freezing temps are not expected outside of North Dakota and far northern Minnesota and Wisconsin," said AgResource.
Fighting For Priority: The agriculture industry is arguing for priority as Covid-19 vaccine tests advance. In a letter Thursday to the White House coronavirus task force, farm groups including the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union say that vaccine allocation must be prioritized for the "food and fiber supply chain," saying their industry is critical to U.S. safety and wellbeing. The U.S. government plans to start shipping out Covid-19 vaccines within 24 hours of any FDA approval, federal officials said last week.
--The USDA will release its monthly cattle on feed report at 3 p.m. ET Friday.
--The CFTC releases its weekly commitment of traders report at 3:30 p.m. ET Friday.
--The USDA releases its weekly grain export inspections data at 11 a.m. ET Monday.
--The USDA releases its weekly crop progress report for the 2020/21 crop at 4 p.m. ET Monday.
Jacob Bunge contributed to this article.