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3 Big Things Today, November 21, 2022

Grains, Beans Lower Overnight; Speculators Cut Bullish Bets Across the Board

1. Grain, Soybean Futures Decline in Overnight Trading

Grain and soybean futures plunged in overnight trading as more ships leave Ukraine.

More than a dozen ships hauling agricultural products left ports in Ukraine Saturday through Monday under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the agreement that allows vessels hauling much-needed grain and other ag items out of Ukraine, according to data from the United Nations.

Ships hauling everything from sunflower meal to wheat to corn sailed in the past three days, the UN said in its report.

Some of the corn crop in Ukraine may remain in fields over the winter amid fuel shortages that will keep harvesting equipment out of fields, Reuters reported, citing analyst APK-Inform.

Ukraine is forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to export 15.5 million metric tons of corn and 11 million metric tons of wheat in the 2022-2023 marketing year.

If realized, that would be up from the 27 million metric tons of corn and 18.8 million tons of wheat it shipped a year earlier.

Some rain has fallen in parts of the southern Plains. Precipitation was seen in the past week in parts of southwestern Kansas, the Oklahoma panhandles, as well as southern Oklahoma, according to data from the National Weather Service's precipitation page.

Still, it's been extremely dry in much of the U.S. southern Plains, with little to no rain falling in much of the region in the past two weeks, the NWS maps show.

Wheat futures for December delivery dropped 10¢ to $8.12 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade, while Kansas City futures lost 4¾ ¢ to $9.19 a bushel.

Corn for December delivery was down 3¾ ¢ to $6.66 ¼ a bushel.

Soybean futures for January delivery fell 5¢ to $14.23 a bushel. Soymeal declined $1.50 to $404.60 a short ton, while soybean oil lost 0.08¢ to 70.53¢ a pound.

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2. Investors Curb Net-Long Positions in Corn, Beans

Money managers cut their net-long positions, or bets on higher prices, in corn and soybean futures in the seven days that ended on Nov. 15, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Investors held 165,847 corn futures contracts, down from 221,808 contracts a week earlier, CFTC said in its report.

That's the smallest such position since Aug. 16.

Speculators were net-long by 95,579 futures contracts in soybeans, down from 105,372 contracts seven days earlier and the lowest since Oct. 25, the agency said.

In wheat, hedge funds and other large firms held a net-21,038 on hard-red winter futures contracts last week, down from 24,204 contracts a week earlier. That's the smallest bullish position since Sept. 20.

Investors also were more bearish on soft-red winter wheat, raising their net-short positions, or bets on lower prices, to 47,622 contracts last week.

That's up from 43,527 contracts a year earlier and the largest bearish position since May 2019, government data show.

The weekly Commitment of Traders report from CFTC 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.

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3. Dry Conditions Expected in Parts of Western Nebraska

Dry weather will lead to elevated fire conditions in parts of the Nebraska panhandle today, as maps are relatively quiet to start Thanksgiving week, according to the National Weather Service.

Humidity levels are extremely low in western Nebraska, NWS said in a report early this morning.

The dry conditions will continue for several days with low humidity forecast to reach critical levels Tuesday and Wednesday, the agency said.

Further south, a freezing fog advisory has been issued until 10 a.m.  for parts of eastern New Mexico and West Texas.

"Freezing fog may lead to slick conditions over bridges and culverts," NWS said. "A thin coating of ice may form on walkways and other elevated surfaces."

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