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3 Big Things Today, February 13

Beans, Grains Little Changed; Investors Less Bullish on Corn in Week Through January 15.

1. Crop Futures Little Changed as Market-Watchers Await Trade News

Soybeans and grains were little changed overnight as producers, analysts, and traders await news about trade negotiations between the U.S. and China.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met with Chinese officials including Vice Premier Liu He for another round of trade talks in Beijing. The negotiations are expected to last through the day.

Officials from both sides have expressed optimism about coming to an agreement after talks two weeks ago were successful.

President Donald Trump said yesterday that he may be willing to push back a deadline for a deal beyond the original March 1 cutoff, but said he’d prefer not to. He said last week he wouldn’t be able to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping before the start of March to finalize an accord.

Soybeans for March delivery fell ¾¢ to $9.16½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soymeal was unchanged at $309.20 a short ton, and soy oil lost 0.18¢ to 30.15¢ a pound.

Corn rose ¼¢ to $3.78½ a bushel overnight.

Wheat futures for March delivery gained ¾¢ to $5.20¾ a bushel while Kansas City futures added ¾¢ to $4.92¾ a bushel.

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2. Money Managers Turned Bearish on Soybeans, Less Bullish on Corn in Week Through Jan. 15

Money managers again turned bearish on soybeans while reducing their bullish bets on corn in the seven days that ended on Jan. 15, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which is still playing catch-up from the 35-day government shutdown.

The CFTC said in January that it will publish two reports a week – one on Tuesday and one on Friday – until they’re current.

Speculators held 16,698 net-short positions, or bets on lower prices, in soybean futures during the week, the agency said in its report. That’s a shift from the 4,714 net-long positions, or bets on higher prices, the previous week.

Investors cut their net longs in corn to 15,694 futures contracts, down considerably from the previous week’s 70,160 futures contracts, government data show.

Fund managers and other large investors had been impressed with soybean purchases by China the prior week, but at the time, concern about exactly how much the Asian nation had bought crept in.

In wheat, speculators increased their bearish stance in hard-red winter futures contracts, holding 14,409 net-short positions, double the prior week’s 7,247, the CFTC said.

Money managers reduced their bearish bets on soft-red winter wheat to 15,708 futures contracts during the week through Jan. 15. That’s down from 16,877 futures contracts the previous week.

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.

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3. Michigan Under Winter Weather Advisories, Warnings as Storm Moves East

Michigan is under the gun today as a winter storm that’s moved through the upper Midwest is now hitting the state, according to the National Weather Service.

Additional accumulations of 2 inches on top of what’s already fallen are expected today, and areas of blowing snow will “significantly” curb visibility, the NWS said in a report early this morning. Travel likely will be difficult because of the storm.

Peak wind gusts in parts of Michigan will be around 45 mph, which could lead to power outages and dangerous driving conditions in higher-profile vehicles, the agency said.

In northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, a winter storm warning has been issued amid increased snowfall and winds that will create slippery road conditions and additional snow accumulations, the NWS said.

In the eastern half of Wisconsin, meanwhile, gusty winds could continue to produce snowdrifts in some areas. That could cover roads and make travel difficult, according to the agency. The winds will diminish throughout the day.

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