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3 Big Things Today, March 4

Soybeans Rise in Overnight Trading; Money Managers Increase Net-Short Positions.

1. Soybeans Higher on Reports U.S.-China Nearing Deal

Soybeans rose in overnight trading on reports that the U.S. and China are close to reaching a trade deal.

Several media reports on Sunday and overnight indicated negotiators were almost to an agreement after recent talks.

China said the U.S. must remove tariffs on $200 billion worth of its goods, while President Trump said he wants Beijing to eliminate all tariffs on U.S. agricultural products. Washington also asked China to not bring World Trade Organization cases, according to Bloomberg.

Trump and his counterpart Chinese President Xi Jinping likely will meet sometime this month to finalize a deal, according to several news reports. The Wall Street Journal said the deal would likely happen toward the end of the month.

Soybeans for March delivery rose 4¢ to $9.15¼ a bushel overnight. Soy meal gained 80¢ to $308.20 a short ton, and soy oil gained 0.10¢ to 30.34¢ a pound.

Corn for March delivery rose 1¼¢ to $3.74¼ a bushel in Chicago.

Wheat for March delivery fell 1¼¢ to $4.56 a bushel overnight, while Kansas City futures declined 1¾¢ to $4.43 a bushel.


2. Money Managers Raise Net-Short Positions Across the Board in Week Through February 19

Money managers raised their net-short positions, or bets on lower prices, in corn and soybean futures in the seven days that ended on February 19, the latest data available from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Investors held a net-short position in corn futures of 103,659 contracts, up considerably from the previous week’s 32,825 contracts, according to the CFTC.

Speculators were net short by 37,897 soybean futures contracts during the week, up from 2,128 contracts a week earlier, the government said in a report.

The CFTC is releasing two reports each week – on Tuesdays and Fridays – in a bid to catch up from the 35-day partial government shutdown that went through late January.

In wheat, investors held a net-short position of 47,511 soft red winter futures contracts, up from 14,320 contracts seven days earlier, the government said. They also held 32,097 net shorts in hard red winter wheat, up from 25,691 contracts the prior week.

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.


3. Cold Winter Weather Settles in From Montana South to Texas Panhandle, East to Lake Michigan

Cold winter weather has again settled in over much of the central Midwest as much of the area is in a winter weather advisory or wind chill warnings, according to the National Weather Service.

In much of North Dakota and South Dakota, a winter weather advisory is in effect as blowing snow and extremely cold wind chills are expected.

Wind chills will fall as low as -35˚F. with gusts of up to 45 mph, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

“Blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility,” the agency said. “The dangerously cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes.”

In parts of Nebraska and Kansas, wind chills also will hit -35˚F. today, according to the NWS.

Wind chill warnings stretch from western Montana east to western Michigan and south into parts of the Texas Panhandle.

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