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3 Big Things Today, June 26

Wheat Futures Lower Overnight; Money Managers Raise Bearish Bets on Corn.

1. Wheat Futures Fall as Northern Plains Sees Rain, French Crop Improves

Wheat futures declined in overnight trading on Monday as some rain, though not much, fell in parts of the Northern Plains and more is expected this week.

About a half inch of rain fell in some parts of northern North Dakota, which probably won’t help the spring wheat crop much but will aid plants in the areas that received precipitation.

Storms, however, are expected tomorrow night, which could bring rainfall along with more severe weather, according to Accuweather. Still, only about a quarter inch of rain is expected.

Prices also may be falling on improved weather for some wheat-growing areas in the European Union. France’s Agritel said in a statement that temperatures have normalized after a heat wave threatened the country’s crops. The first inspection of wheat looks “very good,” the agricultural consultancy said.

Wheat futures for July delivery fell 5¾¢ to $4.67¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Kansas City futures lost 7¼¢ to $4.75¼ a bushel.

Corn futures rose 2½¢ to $3.60¼ a bushel.

Soybean futures for July delivery added 4¼¢ to $9.08¾ a bushel in Chicago. Soy meal rose $1.20 to $294.80 a short tons, and soy oil was unchanged at 31.61¢ a pound.

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2. Money Managers Increase Net-Short Positions in Corn, More Bullish on HRW Wheat

Money managers increased their net-shorts, or bets against higher prices, in corn futures last week while boosting their bullish bets in hard red winter wheat.

Speculative investors were net-short by 50,327 corn futures contracts in the week that ended on June 20, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. That’s up from 4,015 net-shorts a week earlier.

Still, it’s a relatively small number of net-short bets when compared with how bearish investors were in April and May.

In hard red winter wheat, however, investors raised their net-long positions, or bets on higher prices, to 32,965 contracts, the biggest such position since the first week of March, according to the CFTC. That’s up from 21,442 net-long positions a week earlier.

Soybean investors were net-short by 96,433 contracts, up from 90,790 seven days earlier. Investors haven’t been bullish on beans since late March amid rising expectations for global production.

Money managers are also bearish on soft red winter wheat, where they held a net-short position of 11,789 contracts last week, according to the CFTC. That’s still much better than the 85,706 net-short contracts they held just a week earlier.

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. Some Isolated Thunderstorms Possible Today as Weather Maps Mostly Quiet

The U.S. weather maps look pretty quiet today with only a few isolated storms to report.

In central Illinois and Indiana, isolated thunderstorms are possible today and tonight, according to the National Weather Service. There’s a small chance of storms throughout the week but nothing that seems like it is written in stone, the agency said.

A little rain – only about a half inch in spots – fell in parts of the Northern Plains over the weekend, and another round of storms may come through. Unfortunately, what little rain is expected to accompany the storms won’t do much to help the dry situation in North Dakota, the biggest grower of soft red winter wheat.

Storms are possible over parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin today, which also will produce little rainfall.

Meanwhile, in the southwestern U.S., the ongoing heat wave is expected to continue, with temperatures reaching well into the triple digits, according to the NWS.  

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