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3 Big Things Today, February 11

Beans, Corn Little Changed Overnight; Investors Turn Bullish on Beans First Week of January.

1. Soybeans, Corn Little Changed Ahead of U.S.-China Meeting

Soybeans and corn were little changed in overnight trading ahead of this week’s meetings between U.S. and China trade negotiators.

A delegation from the U.S. including Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He today and tomorrow.

Talks almost two weeks ago starring the same players went fairly well by all accounts, though there’s been less movement than expected. President Donald Trump said last week it’s unlikely that he’ll meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping before the March 1 trade deadline.

At this point, it’s unknown whether the U.S. will raise its tariff rate on more than $200 billion worth of Chinese goods if an agreement isn’t hammered out before the beginning of March.

Soybeans for March delivery fell 1¢ to $9.13½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal gained 50¢ to $306.60 a short ton, and soy oil declined 0.37¢ to 30.60¢ a pound.

Corn dropped ¾¢ to $3.73¼ a bushel overnight.

Wheat futures for March delivery fell 3¾¢ to $5.13½ a bushel, while Kansas City futures lost 2¾¢ to $4.91½ a bushel.


2. Investors Increase Net-Long Positions in Corn, Bullish Beans First Week of January

Money managers increased their net-long positions, or bets on higher prices, in corn while turning bullish on soybeans in the week that ended on January 8, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in a report as it continues to play catch-up after the partial government shutdown that ended late last month.

Investors held a net 70,160 long positions in corn futures at the end of the first full week in January, up from 49,188 contracts the previous week, the CFTC said in a report.

The agency is releasing two reports a week – on Tuesdays and Fridays – until it’s caught up after the 35-day shutdown, the longest in U.S. history.

Large funds and other speculators held 4,714 net-long positions in soybeans, a shift from holding a net 14,295 net-short positions, or bets on lower prices, the previous week, the CFTC said.

It’s likely investors became bullish on soybeans after signs in the middle to late December that China was living up to its promise made on December 1 to purchase more U.S. agricultural products.

Speculators still had a bearish position in hard red winter wheat, holding a net 7,247 short positions, up from 4,656 futures contracts the previous week, the CFTC said.

In soft red winter wheat, investors were net short by 16,877 futures contracts, down from 34,302 contracts seven days earlier.

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. More Winter Storms Hitting the Midwest, Parts of Iowa, Wisconsin to See 9 Inches of Snow

Another winter storm is hitting the Midwest as parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, and a few counties in southeastern Minnesota are under a winter storm warning, according to the National Weather Service.

As much as 9 inches of snow are expected in parts of the affected region, and wind gusts are forecast to be around 35 mph, the agency said. Travel will be hazardous, as blowing snow may “significantly” reduce visibility.

“Heavy snow will impact the area tonight through Tuesday,” the NWS said in a report early this morning. “The highest snow rates and heavier accumulations are expected late tonight through noon Tuesday. Blowing and drifting snow are also likely across open and unsheltered areas Tuesday into Tuesday night.”

In much of Nebraska and northern Kansas, a winter weather advisory is in effect, as freezing drizzle and snow are in the forecast.

The drizzle will result in ice accumulations of up to a tenth of an inch with a light dusting of snow on top, the agency said. The adverse weather will make travel dangerous, the NWS said.

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