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3 Big Things Today, February 4

Beans, Corn Little Changed Overnight; Commitment of Traders Back on Delayed Basis.

1. Soybeans, Grains Little Changed on China Trade, Brazil Weather

Soybeans and grains were little changed as investors weight positive China trade news with moderating weather in Brazil.

Chinese importers reportedly purchased U.S. supplies the day after trade talks between the world’s two largest economies ended. Reuters said China bought more than 1 million metric tons from U.S. supplies.

Rain fell at the end of last week, favoring northwest Mato Grosso, northwestern Mato Grosso do Sul, eastern Santa Catarina, and central Mato Grosso do Sul, all areas where corn and beans are produced, Radiant Solutions said in a report.

Rains are expected to favor those regions through Tuesday. Rainfall that’s been forecast for northwestern growing areas of the country will improve soil moisture in the area, the forecaster said.

Soybeans for March delivery fell 1¢ to $9.16¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal gained 60¢ to $312.40 a short ton, and soy oil fell 0.18¢ to 29.71¢ a pound.

Corn fell ¼¢ to $3.78 a bushel overnight

Wheat for March delivery declined 1½¢ to $5.22¾ a bushel, while Kansas City futures lost ¾¢ to $5.08 a bushel.

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2. CFTC Releases December 28 Commitment of Traders Report, Will Send Two Reports a Week

The weekly Commitment of Traders Report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is back, though it will be released on a delayed basis as the agency plays catch up after the partial government shutdown that lasted 35 days.

The CFTC released its December 28 report on Friday, for data through December 24, and said it will release one report on Tuesdays and one on Fridays until they’re current.

For the week that ended on December 28, net-long positions in corn plunged and soybean investors turned bearish, according to the agency.

Speculative investors held 90,880 net-long corn futures contracts during the week, down from 124,427 contracts seven days earlier, CFTC data show. That’s still the second-highest level since May behind only the previous week.

Money managers, however, turned bearish on soybeans.

Investors held a net-short position, or bets on lower prices, of 3,239 soybean futures contracts during the last full week of December, the agency said.  Speculators were net long by 13,166 futures contracts the previous week.

Still, they were only bullish on beans for a week after being bearish the previous 27 weeks.

In wheat, money managers were bearish on hard red winter wheat for the first time in three weeks, holding 142 net-short positions through December 28. That’s down from a net-long position of 3,908 contracts the previous week.

Speculators were net short by 18,325 soft red winter wheat futures contracts as of December 28, up from 3,612 such positions seven days earlier, the CFTC said.

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 Storm Warning in Parts of North Dakota, Minnesota as Wind Chills Hit -40˚F.

A winter storm warning is in effect for much of northern North Dakota and Minnesota, while a winter storm watch is in effect into Wisconsin, according to the National Weather Service.

Total accumulations of snow in areas affected by the winter storm warning are forecast around 6 inches, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

Wind gusts will be around 35 mph, which likely will result in blowing snow and reduced visibility, the agency said. Wind chills will be close to -40˚F. Roads will be slippery and travel is not advised.

Farther east, a winter weather advisory is in effect for parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin where snow accumulations of up to 3 inches are expected along with a tenth of an inch of ice, the NWS said.

Roads also will be slippery in the region, which may make travel dangerous.

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