March 2020 corn ended today up 3 ¼ at $3.81, up 4 ¼ cents for the week. December 2020 corn finished at $3.95 ¼, up 2 for the day and up 5 cents for the week. For soybeans, January closed up over 9 cents at $9.07 ½, up 18 cents for the week. November 2020 soybeans closed up almost 8 cents for the day and 13 ½ for the week at $9.51.
Mid-morning, a press conference was held to discuss the Phase 1 agreement of the U.S.-China trade deal. While specifics were not included, the general takeaway was that China would be buying “more U.S. ag goods. Later in the day, U.S. trade representative Lighthizer added some more detail, saying China has agreed to make a “best-effort” to get U.S. ag purchases to $50 billion, with $16 billion more in purchases happening during the first year. Increases are measured against the 2017 baseline number of $24 billion. Representative Lighthizer went on to say the agreement will increase U.S. trade to China by $200 billion over a 2 year period. 30 days after signing the agreement, the U.S. will lower tariffs on Chinese goods and do not expect a need to increase them outside of the enforcement schedule. There does not appear to be a timeframe on how long the agreement will last and it is set to carry on indefinitely according to Lighthizer. December 15th was the deadline for implementation of additional tariffs. It now appears that not only will that not happen, but tariffs will also be reduced by as much as 50%. Overall, positive news for the soybean market even though a lot of specifics appear to be left to be determined.
Ethanol production for last week came in at 315 million gallons, marking 11 consecutive weeks of rising production and the 3rd consecutive week above the magic 310 million gallon number needed to hit the USDA’s forecast for corn demand for ethanol. Corn export sales came in at 874,000 MT, exceeding expectations. On the other side of the equation, export inspections (actual shipments) came in at 18.9 million bushels, near the middle of the expected range and about half of the same time last year.
Soybean export inspections came in within the expected range at 48.8 million bushels, slightly down from last week but well above last year’s number at this time of 34 million bushels. Soybeans have trader higher 8 of the last 9 trading sessions, with continued positive momentum on the U.S.-China trade front.
Don’t forget the Landus Cooperative’s Annual Meeting on Wednesday, December 18th. Registration starts at 9 AM.