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3 Big Things Today, October 30

Soybean Futures Higher Overnight; Speculators Curb Bullish Bets on Bean Prices.

1. Soybeans Higher Overnight on Signs of Strong Demand From China

Soybeans were higher in overnight trading on signs of strong demand from China.

China’s Cofeed said in a note on its website that the country’s imports of soybeans rose 13% in September from the same month a year earlier, citing the General Administrations of Customs in Beijing.

In the first nine months of the year, the country’s soybean imports jumped more than 15% year over year, the consultant said. Inventories at Chinese ports have reportedly fallen to about 600,000 metric tons, the lowest level since May.

That’s good news for U.S. producers who are seeing stronger-than-expected yields in much of the Midwest. Still, crop collection was still behind last week, though the USDA is scheduled to release its weekly Crop Progress Report today.  

Soybean futures for November delivery rose 5½¢ to $9.80¾ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal gained $2 to $314.10 a short ton, and soy oil added 0.15¢ to 34.99¢ a pound.

Corn futures for December delivery gained ½¢ to $3.49¼ a bushel in Chicago.

Wheat for December delivery lost a penny to $4.26¼ a bushel in Chicago. Kansas City futures declined 1¼¢ to $4.24 a bushel.

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2. Money Managers Curb Bullish Bets on Soybeans, Increase Net-Short Positions in Corn

Speculative investors cut their bullish bets on soybeans in the week that ended on October 24 and raised slightly their net-short positions in corn.

Money managers were net long soybeans by 47,234 contracts last week, down from 67,513 contracts a week earlier, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in its weekly Commitment of Traders Report.

Investors were more bearish on corn, albeit only by a little, raising their net-short positions, or bets against prices, to 155,307 contracts last week from 154,639 contracts, according to the CFTC.

Soybean and corn yields in the U.S. have been reported stronger than expected, prompting some investors to curb their bullish bets on grain and oilseed prices. Still, the harvest is well behind normal and a lot of crops are still in fields.

Money managers were also more bearish on wheat. Bets against soft red winter varieties rose to 83,548 contracts from 78,815 contracts just seven days earlier.

Speculators were net short by 10,855 hard red winter wheat contracts last week, up from 4,773 contracts, 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.

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3. Freeze Warnings Issued in Eastern Corn Belt, Dakotas to See Dangerous Winds, Snow

The extremely cold weather that hit the western and central Midwest last week has moved into the eastern Corn Belt to start this week.

A freeze warning will go into effect early tomorrow morning in much of eastern Illinois, Indiana, southern Ohio, into Kentucky and Tennessee, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures are expected to drop into the upper 20s and lower 30s overnight. The cold weather follows hard freezes in much of Kansas and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles last week.

Strong wind warnings are in effect for much of the Dakotas this morning. Gusts are expected to top 45 mph today and combine with snow showers, the NWS said. Travel is extremely hazardous, especially for trucks and other vehicles with a high profile, the agency said.

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