3 Big Things Today, June 18
1. Wheat Futures Decline as U.S. Winter Crop Harvest Accelerates
Wheat futures were lower in overnight trading as the winter harvest accelerates in the U.S.
About 14% of the winter wheat crop in the U.S. was collected as of last week, according to the USDA, and dry weather in much of the Southern Plains last week helped speed the harvest.
Most of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas saw little to no rainfall last week, though precipitation fell in the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, where a large percentage of hard red winter varieties are grown, according to the National Weather Service.
Prices are also declining amid rainfall in parts of Ukraine, which may have helped crop conditions in the eastern European country, and forecast precipitation in parts of Australia.
The USDA last week raised its forecast for global ending stockpiles for the year that ends on May 31, 2019, to 266.2 million metric tons. That’s up from 264.3 million tons projected a month earlier.
Wheat for July delivery dropped 6½¢ to $4.93 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures lost 7½¢ to $5.12¼ a bushel.
Corn futures were down 3¼¢ to $3.58 a bushel overnight.
Soybean futures for July delivery fell ¼¢ to $9.05¼ a bushel. Soy meal rose 40¢ to $339.30 a short ton, and soy oil lost 0.06¢ to 29.44¢ a pound.
2. Money Managers Turn Bearish on Corn, Reduce Net Longs in Soybeans
Money managers turned bearish on corn and reduced their net-long positions in soybeans to almost zero last week.
Speculative investors were net short by 12,238 corn futures contracts as of June 12, according to the commodity Futures Trading Commission. That’s down from a net-long positions, or bets on higher prices, of 78,696 futures contracts seven days earlier.
Speculators are negative on corn futures for the first time since February, according to data from the CFTC.
Investors were net long soybean futures by only 105 futures contracts as of last week, the smallest such position since February, and down from a net-long position of 65,177 contracts seven days earlier, the agency said.
Money managers are likely reducing their net-long positions in corn and soybeans amid favorable crop conditions and weather in much of the U.S. Corn Belt. The weather has been warm, but timely rains have helped improve crop conditions, though some parts of the Midwest have seen too much rain in recent weeks that have led to flooding.
Money managers, however, increased their bullish bets on wheat last, albeit only slightly.
Investors were net long by 60,606 hard red winter wheat contracts, up from 57,167 contracts seven days earlier, the CFTC said. Soft red winter wheat net-long positions stood at 25,135 contracts as of June 12, up from 23,058 contracts the prior week.
3. Heat Wave Expands, Now Stretches From Kansas to East Coast
A heat wave is expanding throughout the Midwest and now stretches from northeastern Kansas all the way to the East Coast.
Heat advisories and warnings have been issued for a wide chunk of the Corn Belt and now includes the southern half of Iowa and almost all of Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, according to the National Weather Service.
In eastern Iowa, an excessive heat warning is in effect today, as the heat index is forecast to reach 105˚F., the NWS said in a report early Monday morning.
Farther east in northern Indiana and Ohio, where a heat advisory is in effect, temperatures will hit 95˚F. this afternoon, according to the agency. Heat indexes are expected to top 105˚F..