By Kirk Maltais

 

-- Soybeans for March delivery fell 1% to $14.16 3/4 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade Friday, with traders taking the opportunity to sell futures for profit as crushing margins in China tighten.

-- Corn for March delivery fell 0.5% to $5.31 1/2 a bushel.

-- Wheat for March delivery rose 0.8% to $6.75 1/2 a bushel.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

Run for the Money: After a week where both corn and soybeans saw big rises following the release of the USDA's WASDE report on Tuesday, grains traders and farmers sold off some of their positions Friday. In addition to profit-taking, signals globally contributed to negative momentum.

"Beans were down most of the session, reacting to dropping crush margins in China, with a dose of profit-taking in front of the long weekend," said Charlie Sernatinger of ED&F Man Capital.

 

Export Markup: Wheat futures on the CBOT traded higher Friday and the rise was attributed to higher Russian wheat export duties being confirmed. Russia announced it will place a EUR50 per-metric-ton ($61 per ton) duty on its wheat exports beginning March 1 continuing into June 30.

"The aggressive wheat duty is a de facto Russian wheat export ban," said AgResource. "Other primary exporters including the U.S. will fill world demand."

 

INSIGHTS

 

Ravenous Appetite: The USDA reported more new flash sales of U.S. grain exports Friday morning, suggesting to some traders that buyers want to lock in soybean exports before prices run up further. USDA said 318,000 metric tons of soybeans were sold to unknown destinations for delivery in the 2021-22 marketing year.

"New-crop 2021 soybean sales have been picking up lately, suggesting to some that buyers are worried about potential tightness into the next marketing year that could keep prices high into next year," said Arlan Suderman of StoneX.

Friday's announcement makes it 1.1 million tons of soybean exports sold via flash sales in the past week after a lull in sales in previous weeks.

 

The Struggle Continues: The tussle over ethanol in the final days of the Trump administration were ramped up Friday. The EPA released the text of a notice it plans to release in next week's Federal Register that states that the agency is considering further waivers for small oil refineries due to Covid-19 pandemic-related economic stressors.

"These petitions argue that recent events warrant EPA exercising its general waiver authority on the basis of severe economic harm," the EPA said in the notice.

The notice sparked condemnation from groups representing the renewable fuels industry. "This is nothing more than one last desperate attempt by the refiners to undermine the RFS and protect their chokehold on the nation's fuel markets," said the Renewable Fuels Association.

 

AHEAD:

 

-- The Chicago Board of Trade will be closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It will reopen Tuesday.

-- The USDA is scheduled to release its weekly export inspections report at 11 a.m. EST Tuesday.

-- The USDA is due to release its weekly export sales report at 8:30 a.m. EST Thursday.

-- Railroad operator Union Pacific is scheduled to release its fourth-quarter 2020 earnings at 8:45 a.m. EST Thursday.

-- The EIA is due to release its weekly ethanol production and stocks report at 10:30 a.m. EST Thursday.

 

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

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 15, 2021 15:25 ET (20:25 GMT)

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