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3 Big Things Today, April 3

Corn, Wheat Higher Overnight; Speculators More Bearish Across The Board.

1. Corn, Wheat Higher Overnight After Bullish Plantings Report

Corn and wheat futures were higher in overnight trading after a bullish plantings report on Friday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture in a report last week said corn acres would total 90 million acres, down 4 million from last year and below expectations of 91 million.

All wheat plantings were pegged at 46.1 million acres, also down 4 million from the prior year. Winter wheat acreage was forecast at 32.7 million, down 3.42 million from the prior year, and spring wheat was seen at 11.3 million, down 300,000 from last year, the USDA said.

Soybean area, meanwhile, was pegged just below corn at 89.5 million acres, up 6.1 million from the prior year.

The plantings report was bullish corn and wheat, and soybeans seem to be along for the ride this morning.

Corn futures for May delivery rose 2½¢ to $3.66¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Wheat futures added 4¼¢ to $4.30¾ a bushel in Chicago. Kansas City wheat gained 3¼¢ to $4.23¾ a bushel.

Soybean futures rose 2½¢ to $9.48½ a bushel. Soy meal added 50¢ to $308.90 a short ton, and soy oil gained 0.19¢ to 31.97¢ a pound.

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2. Bets on Lower Corn Prices Rise to Highest Since October as Investors More Bearish

Bets that corn prices would decline rose to the highest since October, while investors were net-short hard red winter wheat for the first time in two months.

Investors were net-short 151,798 corn contracts in the week that ended on March 28, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. That’s an increase from 84,118 contracts a week earlier and the biggest net-short positions in more than five months, CFTC data show.

Money managers were net-short by 1,590 hard red winter wheat contracts last week, the first such position since January. Speculators were net-long by 15,308 contracts the prior week, according to the government.

Bullish bets on soybeans declined to 36,798 contracts, well below the prior week’s 60,639, the agency said. Investors were net-short 144,878 soft red winter wheat contracts last week.

Speculators and other large investors have been less bullish or more bearish on corn, beans, and wheat in recent weeks as global production rises to records. The data for the CFTC report, however, was collected before Friday’s plantings report, which could have an impact on this week’s information.

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 (those using futures to hedge their physical assets), noncommercial traders (money managers, also called large speculators), and nonreportables (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. Low Temperatures, Possible Snow Makes Way Toward Oklahoma, Texas Panhandles

The Oklahoma and Texas panhandles couldn’t get precipitation for weeks. In the past week, they’ve seen rain and now possibly snow.

A weather system is moving toward the panhandles, bringing a cold front that includes rainfall tonight, according to the National Weather Service.

Colder air will spill into the region on Tuesday as the storm moves through, which may cause rain to turn to snow in some parts of the panhandles, the agency said in an early Monday statement.

“Some light accumulations of snow will be possible, mainly to the northwest of a line from Dalhart, Texas, to Guymon, Oklahoma,” the NWS said. “Strong winds may also cause the snow to be blown about, which will lower visibilities at times.”

Temperatures may drop below freezing for several hours, with cold weather having “the potential to produce significant damage” to vegetation, the agency said.

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