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3 Big Things Today, July 15

Corn Futures Higher Overnight; Investors More Positive on Corn, Bearish on Beans.

1. Corn Futures Higher Overnight as Drier Weather Expected

Corn was higher in overnight trading as drier weather is forecast to move into the Midwest later this week.

Weather maps show a dry spell starting in parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri once the remnants of what was Tropical Storm Barry diminish. 

Commodity Weather Group said in a report that it expects as much as a quarter of the Midwest to be dry with temperatures in the 90s in the short term  but near 100˚F. in the six- to 10-day outlook.

The dry weather will be “limited in scope but a concern for” Iowa and Illinois, the forecaster said.

Corn futures for December delivery rose 2½¢ to $4.61¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Soybean futures for November delivery fell ¾ to $9.30¾ a bushel overnight. Soy meal gained 30¢ to $321.80 a short ton, and soybean oil added 0.07¢ to 28.86¢ a pound.

Wheat for September delivery rose 2½¢ to $5.25½ a bushel, while Kansas City futures declined ¼¢ to $4.67½ a bushel.

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2. Money Managers Increase Net-Long Positions in Corn, Raise Bearish Bets in Beans

Money managers increased their net-long positions, or bets on higher prices, in corn last week while raising their bearish bets on soybeans, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Speculators raised their bullish holdings in corn to 174,318 futures contracts in the seven days that ended on July 9, the CFTC said in a report. That’s up from 169,425 futures contracts a week earlier, the government said.

Investors turned bullish on corn in June amid ongoing wet weather that kept farmers from planting their crops. Now, hot, dry weather is moving in on the Midwest, which could potentially hurt plants that have a shallow root system after being planted so late.

Investors, meanwhile, raised their bearish bets on soybeans, pushing their net-short positions to 45,750 futures contracts last week, the CFTC said.

That’s up from 40,587 contracts a week earlier and the largest net-short position in three weeks.

In wheat, money managers lowered their net-short positions in hard red winter futures to 18,247 contracts last week from 16,877 contracts seven days earlier, government data show. That’s the smallest such position since February 5.

Still, investors lowered their net-long position in soft red winter wheat to 27,583 futures contracts, down from 34,473 contracts a week earlier and the smallest bullish position in three weeks, the CFTC said in its report.

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. Barry Weakening as Storm Moves North, Will Cause Flooding, Possible Tornadoes

Tropical Depression Barry continues to move north across southern Arkansas into southern Missouri this morning, bringing heavy rains and thunderstorms to the area, according to the National Weather Service.

Tornado warnings, flash flood warnings, and flood watches are all in effect in much of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, eastern Tennessee, and Kentucky, southern Missouri, and extreme southern Illinois, weather maps show.

“Barry continues to steadily weaken as it moves northward across the Mississippi Valley,” the NWS said in a report this morning. “Despite the weakening, the system continues to produce very heavy rainfall across the region with the threat for significant flash flooding in some areas.”

In southern Missouri and Illinois, heavy rainfall from Barry will range from 2½ to 4½ inches with isolated higher amounts possible, the agency said. That likely will cause flash flooding.

The rain is expected to continue through early Tuesday with another 2 to 4 inches falling.

Once the storms pass, the area in Barry’s wake is expected to see a “widespread” heat wave starting mid-week, the NWS said.

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