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3 Big Things Today, October 31

Grains, Soybeans Mixed in Overnight Trading; Money Managers Raise Bullish Bean Bets.

1. Grain, Soybean Futures Mixed in Overnight Trading

Grain and soybean futures were mixed in overnight trading, as investors pit continued demand against harvest pressure.

The Department of Agriculture last week said export sales of soybeans topped 2 million metric tons for a second straight week, as China snaps up U.S. inventories amid relatively low prices. China bought 396,000 metric tons of soybeans on Thursday, while unknown buyers purchased 129,000 tons, the USDA said. China also bought 204,000 tons of grain sorghum.

Still, prices are being pressured as the harvest rolls on amid mostly dry weather in the Midwest. Parts of Iowa were inundated with rain last week, but the weather was favorable for harvesting in most of the Corn Belt.

Corn futures for December delivery fell 1¢ to $3.53 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Soybeans for January delivery lost ½¢ to $10.11½ a bushel in Chicago. Soy meal futures for December delivery fell 10¢ to $317.40 a short ton, and soy oil lost 0.24¢ to 35.17¢ a pound.  

Wheat futures for December delivery added 1¼¢ to $409¾ a bushel in Chicago, while Kansas City futures rose 1¼¢ to $4.12½ a bushel. 


2. Money Managers Raise Bullish Bets on Soybeans, Hard Red Winter Wheat

Money managers raised bets on higher soybean prices, while net-long positions in hard red winter wheat quietly increased.

Investors were net-long 96,933 soybean futures contracts as of October 25, up 9.8% from a week earlier, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in a report on Friday.  That’s the biggest net-long position in soybeans since the last week of August, according to CFTC data.

Speculators were net-long by 5,372 hard red winter wheat contracts, topping last week’s 863 contracts, the government said in the report. That’s the first time since June that speculators were net-long on the contract.  

Speculative investors were net-short 60,646 corn futures contracts, up from 51,986 the prior week, while bets against higher prices in soft red winter wheat fell to 75,579 futures contracts, down from 100,865 last week.

The bulls have been hanging around soybeans and grains amid a surge in demand.

Since the start of the marketing year on September 1, export sales of soybeans have jumped 24% from the same time frame a year ago, as overseas buyers take advantage of low-priced U.S. supplies, according to the Department of Agriculture. Corn sales this year are up 85% from the same period in 2015, while wheat sales have gained 26%, USDA data show.

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3. Warm, Dry Weather Put Parts of Nebraska, South Dakota at Risk of Wildfires

Warmer- and drier-than-normal weather is putting much of northern Nebraska and southern South Dakota at risk of wildfires, according to the National Weather Service.

Warm, dry conditions combined with gusty winds will bring “elevated fire danger” to the region today, the NWS said in a report.

“Any fire in this region will have the potential to grow rapidly out of control,” the NWS said. “Conditions are forecast to improve by Tuesday.”

Meanwhile in Iowa, there’s a chance for thunderstorms starting tomorrow and continuing until Wednesday. The potential for severe weather is low, but storms may produce small hail, the NWS said in its report this morning.

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