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3 Big Things Today, March 20
1. Beans, Corn Higher on Bargain Hunting; Wheat Rises Amid Weather
Soybeans and corn were higher in overnight trading as bargain hunters again enter the market to capitalize on low prices.
Soybeans closed Friday a couple ticks above the $10 mark, giving those seeking to get into the agriculture markets a solid entry point. Corn prices had established themselves just below $3.70, a low price for the grain.
Soybean futures for May delivery rose 6¢ to $10.06 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal added $1.40 to $330.30 a short ton, and soy oil gained 0.19¢ to 32.49¢ a pound.
Corn gained 2¢ to $3.69½ a bushel in Chicago.
Wheat rose amid adverse U.S. weather. Dry weather continues to threaten hard red winter crops that are set to emerge from winter dormancy in the Southern Plains. Little or no rain has fallen in the region in at least the past month.
In the eastern Midwest, recent freezes may have hurt soft red winter crops, but the extent of the damage, if there is any, isn’t yet known.
Wheat futures for May delivery rose 3¼¢ to $4.39½ a bushel, and Kansas City wheat gained 1½¢ to $4.55 a bushel.
2. Investors Net-Short Corn First Time Since January, Cut Bullish Bets in Beans
Money managers were net-short on corn for the first time in two months and reduced bets on higher soybean prices to the lowest level since October.
Speculative investors were net-short by 27,352 contracts in the week that ended on March 14, the first time they’ve held a short position since the week that ended on January 17, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. That compares to a net-long position of 87,020 contracts the prior week.
Investors were net-long soybeans by 93,544 contracts, the least bullish position they’ve held in five months, the CFTC said in a report. That’s down from a net-long position of 125,065 contracts last week, according to the government.
Money managers shifted to a net-short, or bets that prices will fall, on corn and less bullish on soybeans amid increasing prospects for South American crops, which inevitably will compete with U.S. grains and oilseeds in global markets.
Several private researchers have increased their projections for corn and soybean production in Brazil. The U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this month said soybean output in the country would total 108 million metric tons, up from a prior outlook for 104 million, and pegged Brazil’s corn production at 91.5 million tons, up from 86.5 million just a month earlier.
Investors last week were net-short soft red winter wheat by 110,093 contracts, up from 65,521 the previous week, the CFTC said. Net-long positions in hard red winter wheat declined to 25,290 contracts from 35,306 a week earlier.
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3. Dry Weather Persists in Southern Plains, Storms Move Into Illinois, Indiana
Dry weather continues to plague the Southern Plains as a fire-risk watch is in effect for parts of southwestern Kansas.
The outlook for fire risk stretches from Hays, Kansas, to the Oklahoma border, according to the National Weather Service. The watch is in effect for almost the entire week due to low humidity, warm weather, and lack of precipitation.
Thunderstorms are expected in much of northern Illinois and Indiana this morning, the NWS said.
“There’s a chance additional thunderstorms could develop near the I-80 corridor late this morning, with the threat spreading southeast into east-central Illinois and northwest Indiana this afternoon,” the agency said in a report early Monday.
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