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3 Big Things Today, March 13

Wheat Futures Lower Overnight; Money Managers Slightly Less Bullish Last Week.

1. Wheat Lower Overnight as Global Winter Crops Emerge From Dormancy

Wheat futures were lower in overnight trading on reports that Black Sea wheat emerged from winter dormancy with little winterkill damage.

Crops in the region, where the bulk of Russia and Ukraine wheat is grown, had a fairly decent winter, which leads market watchers to believe yields will be solid this year. The U.S. winter crop is also set to emerge from dormancy in good conditions, according to forecasters.

Still, drought stress may be starting to take its toll on the U.S. crop, Commodity Weather Group has said in reports. Little or no rain has fallen in much of the Southern Plains in the past month, according to the National Weather Service.

Corn and soybeans were little changed overnight.

Wheat futures for May delivery fell 2¾¢ to $4.37¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Kansas City futures lost 4¢ to $4.51½ a bushel.

Corn futures for May delivery lost 1¾¢ to $3.62½ a bushel in Chicago.

Soybean futures declined ¼¢ to $10.06¼ a bushel in Chicago. Soy meal gained 50¢ to $329.20 a short ton, and soy oil fell 0.13¢ to 32.55¢ a pound. 

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2. Money Managers Slightly Less Bullish on Beans, Corn Last Week

Money managers were less bullish on soybeans and corn, but only slightly, in the week that ended on March 8, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Hedge funds and other speculative investors were net-long 124,065 soybean contracts last week, down 4.3% from the prior week, the CFTC said in a report.

Net-longs, or bets on higher prices, in corn declined to 87,020 contracts, down from 87,657 a week earlier, according to the CFTC.

Investors reduced their bullish positions in hard red winter wheat to 35,306 net-long contracts, down from 37,667 the prior week, which was the most bullish they’ve been since April 2014, government data show.

Speculators were more bearish on soft red winter wheat, raising net-short positions, or bets on lower prices, to 65,521 contracts from 59,233 the prior week.

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. Winter Storm Making Way Across Midwest, Heading East Into Mid-Atlantic

A strong winter storm that’s blowing through Iowa today will continue to move east this week bringing cold temperatures and snow.

Much of northern Iowa and southern Minnesota are in a winter storm warning, while surrounding areas and regions east are facing a winter weather advisory, for now, according to the National Weather Service.

“Periods of light to moderate snow will continue across the area before tapering off through the morning hours,” the NWS said in a report early Monday. “Moderate to heavy accumulations have already occurred over north central Iowa with lighter amounts south. Snowfall rates will gradually diminish through sunrise.”

Total accumulations in the affected areas will range from 6 to 9 inches, the agency said. Winds are expected to be from 10 to 20 mph, which will reduce visibility.

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