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3 Big Things Today, January 8

Soybeans, Grains Lower Overnight; Money Managers Mixed Amid Position Squaring.

1. Soybeans, Grains Lower Overnight on Signs of Weak Demand

Soybean and grain futures were lower in overnight trading on speculation that the USDA will lower its outlook for exports in an upcoming report this week.

Analysts suspect the government will reduce its forecast for 2017-2018 sales in Friday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Report. Export sales this year are down from a year ago amid high world supplies.

Soybean sales since the marketing year started have totaled 41.1 million metric tons, down 14% from the same time frame a year earlier, according to the USDA. Sales of corn are down 25% at 26.7 million tons.

Wheat sales since the start of the grain’s marketing year on June 1 are at 19.6 million tons, down 7% year over year, government data show.

Soybeans for March delivery fell 2¼¢ to $9.68½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal declined $1.10 to $320.80 a short ton, and soy oil gained 0.08¢ to 33.84¢ a pound.

Wheat for March delivery fell 3¼¢ to $4.27½ a bushel. Kansas City futures declined 3¾¢ to $4.33¾ a bushel.

Corn futures dropped ½¢ to $3.50¾ a bushel overnight.


2. Money Managers Reduce Bearish Corn Bets, Increase Net Shorts in Soybeans

Money managers were less bearish on corn but more bearish on soybeans in the week that ended on January 2, according to a report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Investors were net short by 189,536 contracts last week, down from 198,493 contracts a week earlier, the CFTC said in its weekly Commitment of Traders Report.

Soybean investors, meanwhile, were net short by 87,843 contracts in the seven days through last Tuesday, up from 71,377 contracts a week earlier, the agency said.

Speculative investors were net short 135,523 soft red winter wheat contracts, well below the prior week’s 152,060 contracts. Money managers were net short 29,927 hard red winter wheat contracts, down from 34,476 contracts seven days earlier, according to the CFTC.

It’s been a mixed bag for the past couple of weeks in terms of direction investors have taken due to year-end position squaring. With the holidays in the rear-view mirror, it’s likely investors will seek a direction, analysts said.

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.


3. Sheet of Ice Formed Overnight in Central Midwest, Fog Also Prevalent

A thick sheet of ice has developed in several counties in Missouri, eastern Kansas, and southern Iowa overnight, making travel extremely hazardous.

Areas most affected by the black ice are just to the south and east of Interstate 35, according to the National Weather Service. Drivers should use caution when traveling in the area.

Patchy, dense fog is also prevalent in the region, making travel even more dangerous. Conditions, however, should begin to improve late this morning as temperatures warm above freezing, the NWS said in a report early Monday morning.

It’s going to be relatively warm in the Southern Plains today after last week’s Arctic blast. High temperatures in the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles are expected in the low 60s today, according to the NWS.

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