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3 Big Things Today, April 29

Soybeans, Corn Slightly Higher Overnight; Money Managers Increased Bearish Bets Last Week.

1. Soybeans, Corn Slightly Higher Overnight on Wet Weather

Soybeans and corn were slightly higher in overnight trading as continued wet weather keeps farmers out of fields in parts of the Midwest.

Snow fell in parts of Wisconsin and northern Illinois over the weekend, and fresh batches of showers are expected in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana this week, which likely will further delay planting.

Six percent of the corn crop had been seeded as of last week, down from the prior five-year average of 12%, according to the USDA.

In Iowa, 4% was in the ground vs. the average of 10% for this time of year, while in Illinois, only 1% had been planted, down from an average of 17%, the USDA said.  

Negotiations between the U.S. and China will go another two rounds, at least. A U.S. delegation is scheduled to head to Beijing later this week, while on May 8, a Chinese group will return to Washington to continue talks.

Soybeans for May delivery rose 1¢ to $8.69 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Corn futures added 2½¢ to $3.63¾ a bushel.

Chicago wheat for May delivery fell 1¼¢ to $4.41¼ a bushel in Chicago, while Kansas City wheat declined 2¢ to $4.05½ a bushel.

**

2. Money Managers Increase Net-Short Positions in Corn, Beans, Soft Red Winter Wheat

Money managers raised their net-short positions, or bets on lower prices, in corn and soybeans in the week that ended on April 23, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Speculators held 344,185 net shorts in corn futures contracts last week, up from 326,887 contracts a week earlier, the CFTC said in a report.

Investors raised their bearish bets in soybean futures to 133,944 net shorts, up from 92,744 contracts seven days earlier, government data show.

They’ve been raising their negative bets on corn and soybeans amid rising global inventories and continued questions about demand for U.S. supplies. The ongoing trade talks between the U.S. and China, while seemingly heading in a positive direction, have dragged on longer than expected.

Money managers also raised their net-short positions in soft red winter wheat to 76,715 futures contracts as of last week, the CFTC said. That’s up from 69,970 contracts a week earlier.

In hard red winter wheat, meanwhile, investors lowered their net shorts slightly to 55,194 futures contracts, down from 55,414 contracts a week earlier, according to the government.

The Weekly Commitment of Traders Report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission shows trader positions in futures markets.

The report provides positions held by commercial traders, or those using futures to hedge their physical assets; noncommercial traders, or money managers (also called large speculators); and nonreportables, or small speculators.

A net-long position indicates more traders are betting on higher prices, while a net-short position means more are betting futures will decline.

**

3. Rain Expected From Iowa to Indiana, Parts of Kansas, Missouri Under Flood Watch

Heavy rain is expected from western Iowa through northern Indiana and north into extreme southern Wisconsin this morning, according to the National Weather Service.

“Expect a wet morning commute with moderate to occasionally heavy rainfall that will lead to ponding of water and possibly minor flooding,” the NWS said in a report early this morning. “The stronger cells have lightning and pea-size hail. Use caution when driving this morning. Storms will exit the area through the afternoon.”

In all of eastern Kansas and western Missouri, meanwhile, a flash flood watch is in effect as several rounds of heavy rain are expected to start late today and last through early Thursday.

The heaviest rains are forecast along the Interstate 70 corridor where up to 6 inches of precipitation are expected between now and Thursday, the NWS said.

Flooding is possible due to already-saturated soils.

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