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3 Big Things Today, January 15

Grain Markets Closed on Monday; Money Managers Extend Bearish Corn, Soybean Bets.

1. Grain Markets Close in Observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

Grain markets are closed in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Holiday. Overnight trading resumes at 7 p.m.

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2. Money Managers Extend Net-Short Positions in Beans to Largest Level Since June

Money managers extended their net-short positions, or bets that prices would fall, in corn and soybeans last week.

Investors were net short 216,832 corn contracts in the seven days that ended on January 9, the biggest such position since December 19, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in a report. The move was the first increase in three weeks.

Speculators raised their net-short positions in soybeans to 95,708 contracts last week, up from 87,843 contracts a week earlier, according to the CFTC’s Commitment of Traders Report. That’s the biggest such position since June 6 of last year, government data show.

Investors have been less bullish on corn and beans recently amid rising global supplies and weak demand for U.S. inventories.

Export sales in the current marketing year for corn are down 25% from the same time frame a year ago. Soybean sales are off by 14% from the year-ago pace, while wheat sales are down 9%, according to the USDA.

Soft red winter wheat investors were net short by 135,516 contract, almost completely unchanged from the prior week, while investors were net short in hard red winter wheat by 19,829 contracts, down from 29,927 seven days earlier, the CFTC said in its report.

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. Snow, Extremely Low Temperatures Forecast From North Dakota Through South Texas

Another round of cold weather is headed to the Plains and Midwest early this week with a winter mix expected to extend as far south as southern Texas.

“A cold front will steadily drop southward today, reaching central Texas by this evening and the western Gulf Coast by Tuesday morning,” the National Weather Service said in a report. “Gusty northerly winds will usher in arctic air behind the cold front with maximum temperatures forecast to be roughly 15˚F. to 30˚F. below mid-January averages today across the Central and Northern Plains.”

That means high temperatures will be below freezing from the Dakotas through the Texas panhandle.

The front will move through Texas and meet with a system of moisture moving up from the Gulf of Mexico, creating a wintry mix of precipitation east to the Mississippi Valley, the NWS said in a report early Monday. Snow will be the main concern but sleet and freezing rain also will be present.

Winter weather is forecast for pretty much the entire half of the U.S. with winter weather advisories and winter storm warnings issued from northern Wisconsin to the Gulf Coast and from central Kansas east into West Virginia, according to NWS maps.

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