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3 Big Things Today, April 18, 2022

Wheat Futures Jump Overnight; Investors Raise Bullish Bets on Corn, Beans.

1. Wheat Futures Surge in Overnight Trading

Wheat futures jumped in overnight trading as global buyers begin to seek alternate supplies amid Russia’s continued attacks on Ukraine and on extremely dry weather in the U.S. southern Plains.

Egypt, the world’s largest importer of wheat, last week added India as a supplier of the grain, an indication the North African country isn’t relying on grain from Russia or Ukraine, Reuters reported, citing the Supply Ministry.

Russian rockets reportedly slammed into the city of Lviv in western Ukraine, while fighters in the port city of Mariupol continue to fight even after a Russian deadline to surrender, according to media reports.

In parts of the U.S. southern Plains, meanwhile, little to no rain has fallen in the past 30 days, according to the National Weather Service’s precipitation page.

Little to no rain has fallen in a large stretch of land from southeastern South Dakota south through West Texas, the agency said.

About 67% of Kansas, the biggest U.S. grower of winter wheat, was suffering from drought conditions last week, as was 85% of Oklahoma, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Wheat for May delivery jumped 21¼¢ to $11.17¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade while Kansas City futures added 17¾¢ to $11.71¾ a bushel.

Soybean futures for May delivery gained 9¾¢ to $16.92 a bushel. Soymeal fell $1.30 to $460.10 a short ton, while soybean oil futures rose 0.97¢ to 79.88¢ a pound.

Corn futures added 7¼¢ to $7.97½ a bushel. 

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2. Speculators Boost Bullish Bets on Corn and Beans

Investors raised their net-long positions, or bets on higher prices, in corn to the highest level in almost a month while also boosting bullish bets on beans, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Speculators held a net-356,877 corn-futures contracts in the seven days through April 12, the CFTC said in a report.

That’s up from 349,104 contracts a week earlier and the largest such position since the week that ended on March 15.

Money managers held 164,649 soybean-futures contracts last week, up from 156,811 contracts a week earlier, and the biggest bullish position since March 1, the agency said.

In wheat, hedge funds and other large investors held a net-49,488 hard-red winter futures last week, up from 45,193 contracts a week earlier and the biggest bullish position for the grain since January 4.

Investors also were more bullish on soft-red winter wheat, holding 17,067 futures contracts, up from 13,953 contracts the previous week, the CFTC said in its report.

The weekly Commitments 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.


3. Freeze Warnings in Effect For Parts of Kansas, Missouri, Illinois

Freeze warnings have been issued for parts of Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois until 9 a.m. today and again overnight into Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures in eastern Kansas and western Missouri overnight fell below freezing overnight and are expected to drop to as low as 27˚F. tonight, the NWS said in a report.

In the southern Plains, a frost advisory is in effect as temperatures declined overnight.

Temperatures in the Oklahoma panhandle fell to as low as 34˚F., likely resulting in some frost formation, the agency said.

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