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3 Big Things Today, April 8

Wheat Futures Higher Overnight; Money Managers Increase Bearish Bets on Beans, Corn.

1. Wheat Futures Lower on Crop Prospects

Wheat futures were lower in overnight trading, while corn and beans were little changed.

The outlook for the U.S. winter wheat crop has improved year over year, pushing prices of the grain down for what would be a third straight sessions if declines hold.

Some 56% of winter wheat was in good or excellent condition as of last week, up from 32% at the same time in 2018, according to the USDA.

Corn and beans were little changed as traders await news concerning a trade deal between the U.S. and China. Reports have come out that negotiations have gone well and the sides are close to an agreement, but so far, a meeting between presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping hasn’t been announced.

The two are expected to meet to conclude negotiations and sign a trade deal.

Wheat futures for May delivery declined 5¢ to $4.62¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City wheat dropped 2½¢ to $4.28¾ a bushel.

Soybeans for May delivery rose ¾¢ to $8.99¾ a bushel overnight. Soy meal gained 50¢ to $308.60 a short ton, and soy oil lost 0.19¢ to 28.96¢ a pound.

Corn futures fell ½¢ to $3.62 a bushel in Chicago.


2. Money Managers Increase Bearish Bets on Corn, Bean Futures Through April 2

Money managers increased their bearish bets on corn and soybean futures in the seven days that ended on April 2, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Speculators held 263,768 net-short positions in corn last week, up from 218,427 contracts the prior seven-day period, the CFTC said in a report.

Investors were net short by 69,153 soybean futures contracts, up from 47,700 contracts the previous week, and the largest such position since March 12, government data show.

In wheat, fund managers were net short by 50,554 hard red wheat futures contracts as of April 2, up from 49,570 contracts seven days earlier.

They held 57,883 net-short positions in soft red winter wheat, down from 64,550 contracts the previous week and the smallest bearish position since February 19, according to the CFTC.

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. Fires a Risk in Much of Iowa Due to Higher-Than-Normal Temperatures, Strong Winds  

Fire risks are elevated in much of Iowa this morning as a combination of above-normal temperatures and high winds make conditions favorable for wildfires, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures are expected to be in the 70s and possibly 80 in spots, and west winds gusting as high as 35 mph will increase the risk of fires, the NWS said in a report earlier this morning.

Farther south in southern Arkansas and parts of Mississippi, thunderstorms are possible that may become strong to marginally severe are in the forecast.

Quarter-size hail and isolated damaging winds are the main hazards in the region today, the agency said.

“Additionally, heavy rainfall today may lead to a continued flash flood threat across southeastern sections of” Arkansas, the NWS said. “We may also see increased flooding concerns on area rivers in response to this weekend’s heavy rainfall.”

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