3 Big Things Today, March 9, 2020
1. Soybeans and Grains Plunge on Coronavirus and Oil Concerns
Soybeans and grains plunged in overnight trading as the coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to spread globally and oil market drop.
Worldwide economic concerns have spooked markets as more than 105,000 cases of the disease have been confirmed.
The World Health Organization said yesterday that eight new countries – Bulgaria, Costa Rica, the Faroe Islands, French Guiana, Maldives, Malta, Martinique, and the Republic of Moldova – reported cases. More than 100 countries now have confirmed reports of the coronavirus.
Globally, 105,586 cases have been confirmed. Of those, 80,859 have been in China, where 3,100 people have died. Outside of China, there have been 484 deaths, WHO said in its daily update.
The U.S. as of Friday had 164 cases and 11 deaths. Nineteen states have reported confirmed cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Oil prices crashed over the weekend amid a price war after talks among members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, collapsed on Friday.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, was down 22% to $35.47 early Monday, while West Texas Intermediate futures, the U.S. standard, plunged 23% to $31.80 a barrel.
Soybean futures for May delivery fell 15¢ to $8.76¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soymeal dropped $3.10 to $302 a short ton, and soy oil lost 1.09¢ to 27.66¢ a pound.
Corn futures fell 4½¢ to $3.71½ a bushel overnight.
Wheat futures for May delivery declined 9¢ to $5.06¾ a bushel while Kansas City futures lost 10¢ to $4.36¼ a bushel.
2. Investors Slash Bearish Positions in Soybeans and Corn, Still Bullish on Soft Red Winter
Money managers reduced their net-short position, or bets on lower prices, in beans to the lowest level in six weeks while also curbing their bearish bets in corn futures, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Investors in the seven days that ended on March 3 slashed their net-shorts in soybeans to 34,988 futures contracts, down from 75,736 contracts a week earlier and the lowest since the week that ended on January 21, the CFTC said in a report.
Speculators also cut their net-short positions in corn to 77,179 futures contracts as of last Tuesday, down from 88,157 contracts the previous week.
In wheat, hedge funds and other large money managers turned bearish on hard red winter contracts, moving to a net-short position of 2,064 futures contracts from a net-long position, or bets on higher prices, of 8,170 contracts seven days earlier, government data show.
Investors were net long by 17,096 soft-red winter wheat futures contracts as of March 3, down from 43,319 contracts a week earlier and the smallest bullish position since December 24, 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. Snow and Rain Are Possible in Parts of Eastern Nebraska Monday
A mix of snow and rain is possible in parts of eastern Nebraska today as winter hangs on for another day, according to the National Weather Service.
The mix, which also may include some freezing rain and sleet, comes as cold air drops from the north in to the region, the NWS said in a report early this morning.
“Some light snowfall accumulations are possible across northeast Nebraska this morning,” the agency said in its report.
In northeastern Illinois, meanwhile, thunderstorms are expected this morning. Wind gusts of up to 40 mph are expected today, the NWS said. A wind advisory is in effect for parts of the region through 7 p.m. local time tonight.