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3 Big Things Today, April 17

Grains, Beans Little Changed Overnight; Investors Extend Bearish Bets Amid Rising Global Output.

1. Corn, Soybeans Little Changed Amid Light Volume After Easter

Grains and soybeans were little changed in overnight trading as many investors worldwide are still out for the Easter holiday.

Volume is low this morning, and investors are weighing an increase in short positions, or bets against higher prices, against strong demand for U.S. supplies so far this marketing year. The push-pull and low volume have left prices little changed in overnight sessions for the past few days.

Some bullish investors who believe the market will rally due to planting delays in the U.S. are keeping prices afloat this morning, analysts said.

Corn futures for May delivery fell 1½¢ to $3.69¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Soybean futures rose 1¼¢ to $9.56¾ a bushel in Chicago. Soy meal lost 20¢ to $317.30 a short ton, and soy oil rose 0.11¢ to 31.30¢ a pound.

Wheat futures for May delivery fell ½¢ to $4.29¼ a bushel, and Kansas City wheat lost 2¢ to $4.25¼ a bushel.

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2. Speculative Investors Extend Bets That Corn, Soybean Prices Will Decline

Speculative investors including hedge fund managers extended their bets that prices would fall on corn and soybeans last week.

Net-short positions, or bets on lower prices, in corn fell to 147,243 contracts in the week that ended on April 11, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. That’s up from the prior week’s 141,759 contracts.

In soybeans, net-short positions jumped to 33,693 contracts last week, up from 4,358 contracts a week earlier, the CFTC said.

Net-shorts in soft red winter wheat, grown primarily in the eastern Midwest and used to make cookies and cakes, declined week to week to 140,835 contracts, down from 147,121 the prior week.

Bets against hard red winter wheat prices rose to 12,009 contracts, up from 7,449 seven days earlier, according to the CFTC.

Investors have been getting more bearish as the size of global crops grow. The U.S. Department of Agriculture last week increased its outlook for Brazil’s soybean crop to 111 million metric tons, topping expectations and raising its forecast from last month’s 108 million tons.

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. Rainfall, Flooding Continue as Large Storms Move Across Central, Southern U.S.

More rain is expected from Texas to the Mid-Atlantic on Monday as a new frontal storm system pushes through the U.S.

Flooding is expected to continue in parts of Illinois and Indiana today with the Illinois and Kankakee rivers running over their banks, according to the National Weather Service. “Periodic” thunderstorms Tuesday and Wednesday are forecast to bring more rain, including locally heavy downpours, the NWS said.

“Pacific storms moving into the central U.S. this week will bring showers and thunderstorms to the northern states,” the agency said in an early Monday report.

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