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3 Big Things Today, December 12

Wheat Futures Lower in Overnight Trading; Money Managers Less Bullish on Beans, Corn.

1. Wheat Drops in Overnight Trading as Winterkill Threat Weakens

Wheat futures dropped in overnight trading as forecasters no longer expect freezing weather to harm plants in the Southern Plains.

Winterkill, which can happen when temperatures remain below freezing for several hours, exposing uncovered plants to extremely cold weather, probably won’t be a problem this week despite cold conditions, MDA Information Services Forecaster Donald Keeney said in a report on Monday.

“Plains are drier Thursday and Friday,” he said. “Cold conditions should return later this week, but no winterkill is currently expected.”

Corn and soybeans were modestly lower overnight as producers, elevators, and other sellers work through record crops. The Department of Agriculture on Friday left its outlook for corn and soybean production unchanged. Both crops are still forecast to be the biggest on record.

Wheat futures for March delivery on the Chicago Board of Trade fell 6¢ to $4.10¼ a bushel in overnight trading. Kansas City futures lost 4½¢ to $4.09 a bushel.

Soybeans for January delivery fell 2¾¢ to $10.35 a bushel in Chicago. Soy meal futures for December delivery lost $2.70 to $316.10 a short ton, and soy oil rose 0.19¢ to 37.13¢ a pound. 

Corn futures declined 1½¢ to $3.58 a bushel in Chicago.


2. Fund Managers Less Bullish on Beans, More Bearish on Corn

Speculative investors were less bullish on soybeans and more bearish on corn in the week through last Tuesday amid large production and supplies.

Investors were net-long 124,758 soybean futures contracts, down from 137,371 the prior week, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in a report on Friday. Speculators were net-short 65,428 corn futures contracts, up from 65,111 contracts the prior week, the CFTC said. 

Soybean output is projected at a record 4.36 billion bushels on yields of 52.5 bushels an acre, unchanged from the prior month’s projection, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Corn production was pegged at 15.2 billion bushels on yields of 175.3 bushels an acre, also records, the USDA said.

Still, demand for U.S. supplies has been strong. Since the start of the marketing year on September 1, commitments to purchase U.S. soybeans by overseas buyers are up 27% year over year, and corn sales have jumped 74%, according to the USDA.

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3. Central, Eastern Midwest Expected to be Bitterly Cold This Week

Bitterly cold temperatures will be the talk of the day as weather maps show wind chills of -10˚F. in much of eastern Iowa and western Michigan today, the National Weather Service said in a report early Monday.

Temperatures in Iowa will be even lower, as wind chills are expected to be as low as -20˚F. tomorrow and Wednesday, the NWS said. A stronger storm with precipitation is expected to form ahead of the weekend that also will push wind chills to -30˚F., according to the agency.

The cold front will move east into Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio later this week as temperatures are forecast to be as low as -15˚F. through most of the week, the NWS said. Lake-effect snow in areas downwind of Lake Erie also is expected to form Wednesday and Thursday.

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