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3 Big Things Today, April 22

Wheat Futures Lower Overnight; Money Managers Raise Bearish Bets on Corn, Beans.

1. Wheat Lower Overnight on Crop Conditions

Wheat futures were lower in overnight trading Monday amid lofty crop ratings and the potential for more showers in the Southern Plains.

About 60% of the U.S. winter wheat crop was in good or excellent condition as of last week, according to the USDA, which will update its progress report today.

In Kansas, the biggest producer of winter varieties, 59% earned top ratings, and in Oklahoma, 74% of the state’s crop was in good or excellent conditions, according to the USDA.

Spring wheat planting also likely accelerated in the Northern Plains. Only 2% was seeded as of last week, well behind the prior five-year average of 13%.

Corn and soybeans were little changed as the U.S. and China gear up for another round of trade negotiations.

Chicago wheat for May delivery fell 5¢ to $4.43¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City wheat declined 3¾¢ to $4.22 a bushel.

Corn futures fell 2¢ to $3.65¼ a bushel in Chicago.

Soybeans for May delivery dropped 1¼¢ to $8.79¼ a bushel overnight.

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2. Money Managers Increase Bearish Bets on Corn, Soybeans in Week Through April 16

Money managers increased their net-short positions, or bets on lower prices, on corn and soybeans in the week that ended on April 16, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Investors were net short by 326,887 corn futures contracts as of last week, the highest level in at least five years, the CFTC. That’s up from 289,859 contracts the previous week.

Speculators also increased their bearish positions in soybeans, raising net shorts to 92,744 futures contracts, the agency said in a report. That’s up from 70,734 contracts seven days earlier, government data show.

Bearish bets against corn and bean have been on the rise in recent weeks amid increased global supply, mostly favorable weather in the U.S. and other major growing nations and the lack of a trade deal between the U.S. and China.

In wheat, money managers raised their net-short positions in hard red winter wheat to 55,414 futures contracts as of April 16, up from 48,997 contracts the previous week, according to the CFTC.

In soft red wheat, investors raised their net shorts to 69,970 contracts last week from 56,958 seven days earlier, the agency said.  

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3. Flood Watch in Effect For Central Oklahoma as Rainfall Expected, Warnings Issued in Wisconsin

A flood watch is in effect for much of central Oklahoma this morning as rainfall is expected in much of the region.

“Widespread showers and thunderstorms are forecast to develop over southwest Oklahoma and adjacent parts of northern Texas, and move northeast tonight into early Tuesday,” the National Weather Service said in a report early this morning. “Heavy rain will accompany any storms, leading to flooding of low-lying and poorly drained areas.”

Total rainfall is pegged at 1 to 3 inches in areas that already have received heavy rainfall, according to the NWS.

Flood warnings and watches also have been issued in parts of Wisconsin.

Several rivers in the area are above flood state, the NWS said. The Wolf River, for example, was at 13½ feet as of yesterday morning, well above flood stage of 11 feet.

Rain continued across the region this morning with ½ to ¾ inch falling, the NWS said. The showers are expected to expand across the rest of northeastern Wisconsin this afternoon.

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