By Kirk Maltais

 

--Corn for December delivery rose 1.2% to $4.13 3/4 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade on Wednesday, its highest close since July 2019 amid speculation that U.S. corn yields could be lower than previously forecast as the harvest nears completion.

--Soybeans for November delivery rose 0.8% to $10.72 a bushel.

--Wheat for December delivery fell 0.4% to $6.29 3/4 a bushel.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

Slim Fit: Corn traders bet that next month's WASDE report could show falling yields. "Hearing of some lower test weights than expected across the U.S., which may have an impact on national yields," Marex Spectron said. In October's WASDE, the USDA reduced its outlook for the corn yield this year by just 0.1 bushel per acre to 178.4 bushels an acre. "The market was surprised by the USDA action of not bringing down yields in the October WASDE, and some areas may not be quite as good as first thought," Marex Spectron said.

Southern Comfort: Grains traders again focused on the prospect of planting delays in South America, the chief competitor to the U.S. on the grains export market, according to Karl Setzer of AgriVisor. "Planting is delayed in Brazil but is starting to gain momentum, and will soon be at normal rates according to sources in the country," Mr. Setzer said.

 

INSIGHT

 

Covid Boomerang: Data released by the EIA on Wednesday showed that both U.S. ethanol production and inventories are down from the previous week, which was seen by some traders as a possible sign of states amping up restrictions to limit a resurgence of the new coronavirus during this year's flu season. "President Trump promised that there would not be another national shutdown, but some high-driving states are threatening localized shutdowns that risk seeing lower ethanol demand at least partially offset the strong export demand that we are seeing this year," said Arlan Suderman of StoneX.

Bounce Back: Grain traders surveyed by The Wall Street Journal predict U.S. corn export sales will post a rebound in Thursday's weekly USDA report. They anticipate sales to be anywhere from 800,000 metric tons to 1.4 million tons, well up from last week's total of 655,200 tons. This week, the USDA has announced multiple flash sales of U.S. corn to Mexico. Additionally, China is speculated to have an interest in buying U.S. corn due to weather issues affecting its own crop.

 

AHEAD

 

--Ethanol producer Valero Energy Corp. will release its third-quarter earnings report before the stock market opens on Thursday.

--The USDA will release its latest weekly export sales numbers at 8:30 a.m. ET Thursday.

--The USDA will release its monthly cold storage report at 3 p.m. ET Thursday.

--The USDA will release its monthly livestock slaughter report at 3 p.m. ET Thursday.

 

Write to Kirk Maltais at kirk.maltais@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 21, 2020 15:46 ET (19:46 GMT)

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