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3 Big Things Today, March 6

Soybeans, Corn Little Changed; Money Managers More Bearish Corn, Less Bearish Beans.

1. Soybeans, Corn Little Changed as All Eyes on Trade

Soybeans and corn futures were little changed in overnight trading amid ongoing uncertainty over trade talks between the U.S. and China.

Traders had been optimistic about a trade deal heading into the week, but there’s been little news out of Washington or Beijing this week. Without fresh news on the talks, which are reportedly being finalized this week, investors are sitting on the sidelines.

Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said negotiations with the U.S. have been “very difficult” and “very exhausting,” according to The South China Morning Post.

The talks have moved past the March 1 deadline set by the White House, which delayed implementation of a tariff-rate hike to 25% from its current level of 10% that was set to go into effect at the start of the month, a good sign that a deal was near.

Media reports have said Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping will meet later this month in Florida to sign an agreement.

Soybeans for March delivery fell ½¢ to $9.13¼ a bushel overnight. Soy meal declined 40¢ to $309.60 a short ton, and soy oil lost 0.01¢ to 30.01¢ a pound.

Corn for March delivery declined ½¢ to $3.75¼ a bushel in Chicago.

Wheat for March delivery fell 3¾¢ to $4.59 a bushel overnight, while Kansas City futures dropped 3½¢ to $4.47¾ a bushel.

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2. Speculators Raise Bets on Lower Corn Prices in Week Through February 26, Less Bearish Beans

Money managers raised their net-short positions, or bets on lower prices, for corn futures in the week that ended on February 26 while lowering their bearish positions in soybeans, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Speculators were net short 117,947 corn futures contracts at the end of that week, up from 103,659 contracts seven days earlier, the CFTC said in a report.

Investors, however, decreased their bearish bets on soybeans to a net 32,408 futures contracts, down from 37,897 contracts a week earlier, government data show.

The agency is releasing two Commitment of Traders Reports each week until it’s caught up from the 35-day partial government shutdown that lasted through January 25.

In wheat, large fund managers increased their bets on lower prices for hard red winter varieties to a net-short position of 43,378 futures contracts from 32,097 the previous week. They were net-short by 60,205 soft red winter wheat futures contracts, up from 47,511 contracts seven days earlier, according to the CFTC.

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 Bearing Down on Black Hills, Another Round of Snow Heads For Nebraska, Iowa

A winter storm warning has been issued for parts of southwestern South Dakota, and a winter weather advisory is on for a stretch of land from eastern Wyoming through southeastern Iowa, according to the National Weather Service.

As much as 6 inches of snow are expected in parts of the Black Hills region of South Dakota with locally higher amounts possible, the NWS said in a report early this morning. The winter storm warning will officially begin at 6 p.m. and run through 8 a.m. tomorrow.

“A fast-moving disturbance will bring snow to much of the area this evening into Thursday morning,” the agency said. “A band of heavy snow will develop over parts of southwestern and south-central South Dakota.”

In eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, meanwhile, the snow just won’t stop.

Another round of winter weather is expected starting at about midnight tonight and rolling through Thursday evening with another 3 to 5 inches of snow expected, the agency said. Sleet and freezing rain may accompany the snow, which will make travel extremely hazardous.

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