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3 Big Things Today, January 16

Markets Closed on Monday; Money Managers Longest HRW in Two Years.

1. Chicago Board of Trade Closed For Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

The Chicago Board of Trade is closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday in the U.S. Overnight trading resumes at its normal time this evening.

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2. Specs Boost Net-Longs in Wheat to Largest Since 2014 as Planting Falls to 107-Year Low

Speculative investors held the biggest net-long position in hard red winter wheat in more than two years as of last Tuesday amid declining acres.

Money managers held 23,212 net-long futures contracts, the biggest such position since the last week of 2014, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in a report. That’s up from 11,115 net-long contracts a week earlier.

Planted area of hard red winter wheat dropped 12% in 2016 from the prior year to 23.3 million acres, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report last week. That, along with extremely cold weather in the Southern Plains where hard red winter wheat is grown, has boosted the outlook for Kansas City wheat prices traded on the Chicago Board of Trade.

In Kansas, the biggest grower of winter wheat in the U.S., farmers seeded 7.4 million acres with hard red winter wheat, down 13% from the prior year, and in Oklahoma and Texas, tied as the second-largest producer, acreage fell 10% to 4.5 million in each state, according to the USDA.

Total winter wheat area came in at 32.4 million acres, down 10% from 2016 and 18% from 2015, the second-lowest acreage in history behind only 1909, government data show.

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3. Ice Storm Stretching From Oklahoma to Iowa Makes Travel Dangerous

An ice storm stretching through much of the Plains and into the Midwest will continue moving east into the northeastern U.S. today.

The storm, which stretches from western Oklahoma to northern Iowa, likely will drop more freezing rain on the region today, the National Weather Service said in a morning report.

“Widespread freezing rain persists for much of western Oklahoma, Kansas, northern Missouri, and western Iowa,” the NWS said. “To the north of the freezing rain, continuing snow; to the south, heavy rain and the potential for severe thunderstorms. By Tuesday, freezing rain and snow moves into the northeastern states.”

A winter weather advisory is in effect for the area ahead of the storm, according to weather maps. A mix of sleet and freezing rain has moved into southwestern Wisconsin this morning and will continue to move north through the rest of the day, making travel dangerous, the agency said.

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