3 Big Things Today, November 19
1. Wheat Futures Lower Overnight on Weak Demand
Wheat futures were lower in overnight trading on signs of weak global demand for U.S. supplies.
Sales of U.S. wheat in the week that ended on November 8 fell 34% week to week and 18% from the prior four-week average to 438,300 metric tons, the USDA said in a report on Friday that was delayed due to Veterans Day.
Accumulated exports since the start of the grain’s marketing year on June 1 are down 20% from the same period a year earlier, while total commitments to purchase U.S. wheat has dropped 16% year over year, the USDA said.
Soybeans were also lower overnight despite strong export sales last week amid renewed fears that a deal between the U.S. and China that would increase shipments to the Asian nation is in danger. The presidents of both countries had indicated trade tensions were cooling, but China’s attempt at diplomacy last week – a letter to Washington apparently intended to be a starting point for negotiations – failed to meet several U.S. demands.
Wheat for March delivery lost 5¢ to $5.10¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures declined 3½¢ to $5.03 a bushel.
Soybeans for January delivery fell 5½¢ to $8.86¾ a bushel overnight. Soy meal futures lost $1.60 tto $309.30 a short ton, and soy oil fell 0.03¢ to 27.34¢ a pound.
Corn futures for December delivery were unchanged at $3.64¾ a bushel overnight.
2. Money Managers Raise Bullish Bets in Corn, Increase Bearish Bets in Soybeans
Speculators increased their bullish bets on corn to the highest in almost a month while raising bearish positions in soybeans in the week that ended on November 13, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Investors held 15,833 net-long positions, or bets on higher prices, in corn futures last week, the CFTC said in a report. That’s up from 14,562 futures contracts a week earlier and the largest net-long position since October 23.
In soybeans, however, money managers increased their net-short positions, or wagers on lower prices, to 49,485 futures contracts last week. That’s up from 38,866 futures contracts the previous week, the government said.
Positions in corn and soybeans have been fluctuating in recent weeks, as several fundamental factors have been weighing on the markets. First it was too wet in the Midwest to collect crops, then the harvest accelerated on dry weather, but crop condition is now in question in several areas. In some parts of the Corn Belt, it’s snowing, leaving farmers unable to harvest the last of their fields.
Money managers turned bearish on hard red winter wheat futures contracts for the first time in almost 10 months.
Speculators held 4,449 net-short positions in hard red winter wheat futures last week, the first time they were bearish since the seven days that ended on January 30, according to the CFTC.
Investors, however, reduced their net-short positions in soft red winter wheat, pushing bearish bets to 28,525 futures contracts from 41,965 contracts a week earlier. That’s the smallest net-short position in the grain in almost a month, the government 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. Cold Weather Hits Much of Midwest, No Snow in Forecast For Most Areas, NWS Says
It’s going to be cool but sunny for much of the central Midwest for the next few days, according to the National Weather Service.
Little adverse weather is forecast for much of Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois in the next couple of days, NWS maps show.
Some snow is expected in parts of central Indiana and central and western Ohio today and tonight, however, the agency said in a report early Monday morning. Up to an inch of accumulation is possible, but mainly on elevated surfaces and grassy areas.
No hazardous weather is forecast for the area after that through at least Sunday, the NWS said.