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3 Big Things Today, July 3

Soybean Futures Jump Overnight; Money Managers Increase Bets Against Corn, Beans

1. Soybeans Jump Overnight as Growers Likely Planted Less Than Expected

Soybean futures surged in overnight trading Monday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Friday that growers had seeded fewer acres with the oilseed than previously expected.

Planted acres for soybeans was estimated by the USDA at 88.7 million, down from a March estimate of 89.5 million, but still a record and up from last year’s 83.4 million.

For soybeans, the USDA estimated U.S. 2017 planting acreage at 88.7 million vs. USDA estimate in March of 89.5 million and last year’s acreage of 83.4 million. Analysts had expected closer to 90 million acres, however, which is driving up prices.

Growers likely planted 90 million acres with corn, little change from a prior outlook but down from 94 million a year ago. All wheat acres were pegged at about 46 million; a record-low, down slightly from the March estimate and 50 million a year ago.

Corn futures were higher following soybeans, and wheat gained as dry weather persists in the northern Plains. Little relief is being offered in the weather maps for much of North Dakota in at least the next seven to 10 days.

Soybean futures for November delivery rose 19¼ cents to $9.74 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal futures added $6.50 to $317.70 a short ton, and soy oil gained 0.33¢ to 33.67¢ a pound.

Corn futures rose 5¼¢ to $3.97¼ a bushel in Chicago.

Wheat for September delivery rose 11½¢ to $5.37½ a bushel while Kansas City futures added 11¾¢ to $5.41¼ a bushel.

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2. Money Managers Increase Bearish Bets on Soybeans, Corn; More Bullish on Wheat

Money managers pushed their bearish bets on soybeans to the highest level in at least seven years and raised net-short positions, or bets against rising prices, in corn as wet weather boosts crop prospects.

Investors were net-short by 125,912 soybean contracts in the week that ended on January 27, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. That’s up from 96,433 last week.

In corn, hedge funds and other large speculators were net-short by 105,570 contract last week, up from 50,327 a week earlier and the biggest such position in four weeks, CFTC data show.

Favorable weather including several storms that brought much-needed rainfall to the Midwest has helped improve the outlook for corn and soybeans.

Wheat, however, is another story.

Investors increased their net-long positions, or bets on higher prices, in hard-red winter wheat to 44,124 contracts, up from 32,965 a week earlier, according to the CFTC.

Money managers also lowered their bets against soft-red winter wheat to 10,437 net-shorts, down from 11,789 contracts a week earlier.

Dry weather is stressing spring wheat grown in the northern Plains. Little or no rain has fallen in much of North Dakota, the biggest grower of the crop, in the past 30 days, and little relief is in sight, according to data from the National Weather Service.  

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3. Chances For Thunderstorms Abound From Plains to Mississippi Valley; North Dakota Dry

Chances for thunderstorms abound Monday with some forecast as strong to severe in much of the Plains and Mississippi Valley, according to the National Weather Service.

“Scattered strong-to-severe thunderstorms with locally damaging wind and hail may impact portions of the Plains and Mississippi Valley,” the NWS said. “Heavy rain may accompany some of these storms, leading to flash flood concerns. Additionally, a few severe storms with isolated damaging wind gusts are possible in parts of the northern Ohio Valley into the Mid-Atlantic.”

In North Dakota, all eyes are on the sky as dry weather continues to hurt the spring wheat crop. Unfortunately for growers, another stretch of hot weather is in the forecast for the next seven days.

Temperatures are forecast to be in the 90s and even triple-digits in some areas. Some counties may top 100°F. in the middle of the week, especially those in western and south-central North Dakota, the NWS said.

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