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3 Big Things Today, February 17, 2020

Grain Markets Closed Monday; Speculators Raise Net-Short Positions in Beans, Corn

1. Grain Markets Closed Monday to Observe President's Day

Grain markets are closed today in observance of President’s Day. Trading will resume at 7 p.m. in Chicago.

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2. Money Managers Increase Net-Short Positions in Soybeans, Corn

Money managers raised their net-short positions, or bets on lower prices, on soybeans in the seven days that ended on Feb. 11 to the highest level in more than two months, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Investors were net shorty by 97,412 soybean futures contracts last week, up from 86,996 contracts a week earlier and the highest level since Dec. 10, the CFTC said in a report.

Speculators also raised their bearish positions on corn, holding 69,101 net-short positions in futures contracts last week, up from 52,045 contracts a week earlier and the largest such position since Jan. 14, government data show.

Fund managers and other large institutional investors are more bearish on soybeans and corn amid demand concerns as the novel coronavirus spreads.

Investors were still bullish on wheat, holding 39,482 net-long positions, or bets on higher prices, in soft-red winter wheat futures as of Feb. 11. That’s down from 45,607 contracts a week earlier and the smallest such position since Jan. 21.

In hard-red winter wheat, speculators held a net-short position of 9,983 futures contracts last week, up from 7,884 contracts a week earlier and the largest bullish position since January 2018, 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.

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3. Winter Weather Advisory in Effect in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan Monday

A winter weather advisory is in effect for counties in northern Iowa, southern Minnesota, central Wisconsin and the eastern two-thirds of Michigan this morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Snow is expected in southeastern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa this morning, the NWS said in a report this morning. The storm is expected to cross into Wisconsin by noon.

As much as 5 inches of snow is expected and in some areas it’ll mix with freezing drizzle, the agency said in its report. Travel will become dangerous.  

The winter weather advisory for the region is in effect from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time.

Further north, snowfall is moving northeast through parts of northern Minnesota this morning, the NWS said. Up to 3 inches of fresh snow will fall through this afternoon.

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