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3 Big Things Today, March 5

Soybeans, Grains Little Changed Overnight; Money Managers Boost Bullish Corn Bets.

1. Soybeans, Grains Little Changed Overnight on Weather, Trailing Export Sales

Soybeans and grains were little changed overnight as investors weigh the dry global weather against weak export demand.

Dry weather in Argentina that’s likely caused production reductions is making it hard for traders to be too bearish on soybeans and corn. Worsening drought in the U.S. Southern Plains is likewise making it difficult to sell wheat recently.

Still, sales of wheat and soybeans are down 13% since the start of their respective marketing years when compared with year-ago levels, while corn sales trail last year by 9%, according to the USDA. Some investors also may be concerned about a potential trade war that could hurt sales of agriculture products.

Soybean futures for May delivery rose 1¼¢ to $10.72¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soymeal fell 60¢ to $392.30 a short ton, and soy oil gained 0.10¢ to 32.40¢ a pound.

Wheat for May delivery was unchanged at $5 a bushel overnight, while Kansas City futures added 1½¢ to $5.35¼ a bushel.

Corn futures for May delivery were unchanged at $3.85¼ a bushel overnight.


2. Money Managers Extend Net-Long Positions in Corn to Highest Level Since August

Money managers extended their net-long positions, or bets on higher prices, on corn and soybeans last week.

Investors were net long 58,445 corn contracts as of February 27, up from 22,396 contracts a week earlier, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in a report. That’s the biggest such position since the seven days that ended on August 8.

Soybean investors were net long by 139,846 contracts, the biggest bullish position since December 26, according to the CFTC. Speculators were net long 92,581 soybean contracts last week.

Speculative investors were net long by 9,225 hard red winter wheat contracts as of last week, down from 11,833 contracts seven days earlier, the government said. The move marks the third straight decline for HRW net-long positions.

Investors were net short soft red winter wheat by 54,560 contracts last week, down from 60,157 a week  earlier, according to the CFTC.

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. Blizzard Expected to Drop More Than a Foot of Snow in Northern Plains, Midwest

Blizzard, winter storm and high-wind warnings are in effect for much of the Northern Plains and Midwest today, according to the National Weather Service.

A blizzard warning extends from southwestern North Dakota south into northeastern Nebraska, encompassing several counties in South Dakota.

As much as 13 inches of snow are expected in the affected areas, the NWS said in a report early Monday morning. Travel will be “very dangerous to impossible” this morning as winds gust to 55 mph, causing white-out conditions, the agency said.

The winter storm warning stretches from central Montana east to western Wisconsin, NWS maps show.

In Minnesota, snow is falling with the highest accumulations of up to a foot forecast. Northeasterly winds gusting to as high as 40 mph also are expected, the agency said.

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