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3 Big Things Today, March 11

Crop Futures Little Changed Overnight; Money Managers Boost Bearish Corn Bets.

1. Crops Little Changed Overnight on Lack of Trade News

Soybeans and corn were little changed overnight as investors are still waiting for any definitive news on trade talks between the U.S. and China.

Little news has come out of Washington or Beijing in more than a week after several rounds of talks between the two countries.

A March 1 deadline came and went with the U.S. opting to not raise its tariff rate on more than $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. Since the last round of negotiations in Washington, however, neither side has released much information with regards to a deal.

Media reports have said Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping will meet in Florida later this month to finalize an agreement, but no official meeting has been set.

Trump earlier last week said that ongoing trade talks were going well, but that the negotiations will end with a good deal for the U.S. or no deal at all.

Soybeans for March delivery fell ½¢ to $8.95¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal gained 10¢ to $303.80 a short ton, and soy oil lost 0.11¢ to 29.54¢ a pound.

Corn for March delivery rose 1¢ to $3.65¼ a bushel in Chicago.

Wheat for March delivery fell ¾¢ to $4.38¾ a bushel overnight, while Kansas City futures declined 1¾¢ to $4.29 a bushel.

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2. Speculative Investors Push Bearish Bets on Corn to Highest Since January 2018

Money mangers extended their bearish bets on corn to the highest level in 13 months and on soybeans to the most since November, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Speculators held 192,847 net-short positions, or bets on lower prices, in corn futures in the seven days that ended on March 5, the CFTC said in a report. That’s up from 117,947 contracts a week earlier and the biggest such position since January 23, 2018.

In soybeans, investors were net short by 46,756 futures contracts last week, up from a net 32,408 contracts seven days earlier and the biggest bearish position since November 27, according to the government.

Investors may be more bearish on corn and soybeans on uncertainty about trade between the U.S. and China and concerns about global economic growth.

Money managers were net short 46,678 hard red winter wheat futures contracts as of last Tuesday, up from 43,378 contracts a week earlier, the CFTC said.

Soft red winter wheat net-short positions rose to 73,919 futures contracts, up from 60,205 contracts seven days earlier, government data show.

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. Floods Possible in Nebraska, Kansas This Week Due to Rare Combination of Snow, Thunderstorms

Flood warnings and watches are in effect for much of eastern Nebraska and the western two thirds of Kansas as a spring storm moves through the area and snow melts at a rapid pace, according to the National Weather Service.

“A somewhat rare combination of factors, including heavier precipitation falling onto frozen ground already saturated on the surface from melting snow, could promote at least minor flooding affecting several local rivers, streams and low-lying areas,” the NWS said in a report early Monday morning.

“In addition, warming temperatures will likely cause river ice to start breaking up, which combined with runoff from rain and melting snow, could also promote ice jam flooding, especially along the Platte and Loup River systems.”

The flood watches in Nebraska and Kansas start tomorrow and go through at least Wednesday.

Forecasters are a bit uncertain as to how widespread the issue might be due to the rare nature of the weather event and how much flooding will occur is dependent on how much rain falls between now and Wednesday evening, the NWS said.

In the Southern Plains, severe thunderstorms are possible in parts of the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles this week.

The potential for tornadoes is very low, but golf-ball sized hail and winds up to 80 mph are in the forecast, the NWS said.

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