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3 Big Things Today, March 25

Grains, Beans Little Changed Overnight; Money Managers Reduce Bearish Bets in Corn.

1. Grains, Soybeans Again Little Changed Overnight

Grain and soybean futures were little changed overnight as investors continue to await news on trade talks between the U.S. and China.

President Donald Trump said last week that talks were “coming along nicely” but also said the U.S. would not end tariffs on Chinese goods for a “substantial period” of time. That left traders, producers, and analyst in the dark, as they have been since the last round of negotiations in Washington.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are scheduled to travel to Beijing for trade talks on Thursday.

There’s still hope that Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet to formalize a deal, but that will likely take place in April.

Corn futures for May delivery fell ¼¢ to $3.78 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Soybeans rose 1½¢ to $9.05¼ a bushel in Chicago. Soy meal gained 60¢ to $315.60 a short ton, and soy oil declined 0.07¢ to 28.59¢ a pound.

Wheat for May delivery fell 1¼¢ to $4.64¾ a bushel, while Kansas City futures dropped 2¾¢ to $4.42¼ a bushel.

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2. Money Managers Reduce Bearish Bets on Corn, Soybeans in Week Through March 19

Money managers reduced their bearish bets on corn and soybeans in the seven days that ended on March 19, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Investors held a net-short position, or bets on lower prices, of 282,845 corn futures contracts as of last week, the CFTC said. That’s down slightly from the 282,981 positions they held the previous week, the highest level in at least five years, government data show.

Speculators also reduced their net-short positions in soybean futures to 62,204 contracts last week, down from 89,050 contracts seven days earlier, the CFTC said in a report. That was the largest such position since January 2018.

Money managers have been bearish on corn and soybeans in recent weeks due to heavy global stockpiles and uncertainty about trade with China. Negotiations to hammer out a trade deal with the Asian nation have been ongoing for quite some time, though several reports indicate an agreement is on the horizon.

Speculators held 78,699 net-short positions in soft red winter wheat as of March 19, up from 75,778 contracts the previous week and the largest such position since the seven days that ended on Jan. 30, 2018.

Investors held 52,693 net-short positions in hard red winter wheat, up from 51,350 contracts a week earlier and the largest bearish position in at least five years, according to the CFTC.

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3. Flooding Continues Along Missouri, Mississippi Rivers Into the Gulf of Mexico

Flooding that ravaged much of eastern Nebraska last week has moved downstream, according to the National Weather Service.

Flood warnings are in effect for the Missouri River pretty much all the way from Omaha to St. Louis and along the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.

At Thebes, Missouri, the Mississippi River was at 37.9 feet as of yesterday evening, well above flood stage of 33 feet, the NWS said in a report.

At Cape Girardeau, the river is expected to stay above flood level and not crest until Saturday at 40.5 feet. Flood state at the location is 32 feet, the agency said. At New Madrid, the river will fall below flood stage on Thursday afternoon.

Farther east, “significant rainfall” is expected in northern Illinois, northern Indiana, and a few counties in southern Michigan and northwestern Ohio later this week, the NWS said.

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