3 Big Things Today, November 4, 2019
1. Corn Futures Decline Overnight, Soybeans Little Changed
Corn futures were lower overnight, while soybeans were little changed amid favorable harvest weather that should allow producers into their fields for at least the next few days.
Dry weather is expected in much of the Midwest and Southern Plains today, which means growers who still have crops in the ground should be able to speed collection.
Only 41% of the U.S. corn crop was harvested as of October 27, down from the prior five-year average of 61%, according to the USDA.
In Iowa, 26% was collected as of last week, well behind the normal pace of 53% for this time of year. About 54% of Illinois corn was in the bin, missing the average of 80%, the USDA said last week.
The agency is scheduled to release its Weekly Crop Progress Report today.
Some 62% of the soybean crop was harvested, behind the average of 78%, the USDA said. Producers in Iowa had collected 66% of their soybeans, and Illinois farmers were 69% finished with the harvest. Those trail the respective five-year averages in the states of 80% and 82%.
Underpinning soybean futures, however, is optimism about a potential trade deal with China.
There was concern after Chile canceled a November meeting at which President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping were expected to sign a trade agreement, but U.S. officials have said they want to have a deal signed sometime in November.
Corn futures for December delivery lost 3½¢ to $3.85¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.
Wheat for September delivery lost 4¢ to $5.12 a bushel, while Kansas City futures lost 4¢ to $4.22 a bushel.
Soybean futures for November delivery rose ¾¢ to $9.37½ a bushel. Soy meal fell 40¢ to $303.50 a short ton, while soybean oil added 0.36¢ to 31.39¢ a pound.
2. Money Manager Raise Bearish Bets in Corn, Reduce Bullishness in Soybeans
Money managers increased their net-short positions, or bets on lower prices, on corn and reduced their bullish bets on soybeans in the week that ended on October 29, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Investors raised their net shorts in corn to 88,118 futures contracts last week, up from 75,186 contracts seven days earlier and the largest bearish position since the week that ended on October 8, the CFTC said in a report.
Speculators reduced their net-long positions, or bets on higher prices, to 65,849 soybean futures contracts, down from 67,172 contracts a week earlier, the agency said.
They may be less more bearish corn and less bullish soybeans as the harvest progresses, though it’s slow-moving and yields are suffering due to adverse weather in parts of the U.S. Midwest.
In wheat, investors increased their net shorts in hard red winter futures to 30,433 contracts last week. That’s up from 27,077 futures contras the previous week and the largest bearish position since October 8.
Money managers held a net-long position of only 7,769 soft red winter wheat futures contracts, down from 21,629 net longs the previous week, the CFTC said.
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. Light Snow May Fall in Parts of Eastern Nebraska, Fire Danger in Kansas, Oklahoma Today
Light snow may fall in parts of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa today, while flooding continues on several rivers and tributaries in the region, according to the National Weather Service.
Snowfall is expected to be light in the region with accumulations expected to be less than an inch, the NWS said in a report early this morning.
Flooding, however, continues to be a problem – as it has for much of the year – along the Missouri River and several of its tributaries.
Farther south, overly dry weather is forecast from central Kansas into northeastern Oklahoma where the danger of grass fires is high, the agency said.
“Marginally (to) very high grassland fire danger is expected this afternoon across portions of the Flint Hills,” the NWS said. “Please be mindful of outdoor burning or anything that can cause sparks.”