3 Big Things Today, September 18
1. Soybeans, Grains Mixed on Varying Harvest, Rainfall Reports
Soybeans and grains were mixed overnight amid mixed harvest reports and worries that rain will delay collection in parts of the Corn Belt.
Initial yield reports from southern states haven’t been as good in some areas as expected, which is helping the bull case this morning. Still, it’s very early in the harvest with only 5% completed last week.
The USDA will update that figure in today’s Crop Progress Report.
Rainfall in Nebraska and Iowa this week may or may not help crops that are still in the ground, depending on which growth stage they’re in, but precipitation in some areas where the harvest is under way will keep growers out of fields.
It seems investors are faced with a lot of uncertainty right now that’s keeping some on the sidelines, analysts said.
Soybeans for November delivery rose 3¼¢ to $9.72 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal futures added $2.20 to $313.60 a short ton, and soy oil declined 0.20¢ to 34.61¢ a pound.
Corn for December delivery lost ¾¢ to $3.54 a bushel overnight.
Wheat for December delivery fell 1¾¢ to $4.47¼ a bushel in Chicago, while Kansas City futures declined 1½¢ to $4.44½ a bushel.
2. Money Managers Extend Net-Short Positions in Corn, Reduce Bearish Soybean Bets
Money managers extended their net-short positions, or bets on lower prices, in corn last week while reducing their bearish stance on soybeans.
Investors were net short by 116,344 corn futures contracts in the week that ended on September 12, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in a report. That’s up from 103,898 contracts the prior week.
Conversely, speculators were net short by 7,246 soybean contracts last week, down from 12,529 contracts seven days earlier. That’s the least bearish investors have been since August 8, according to the CFTC.
Analysts have noted some spread trading (selling corn and buying beans) as the fundamentals haven’t changed greatly from week to week.
Speculative investors were net short 76,704 soft red winter wheat contracts, down slightly from 79,685 the prior week. Hard red winter wheat investors were net long by 12,643 contracts last week, just down from 14,607 contracts seven days 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. Thunderstorms Expected in Parts of Central Midwest Today, May Turn Severe Tuesday
Thunderstorms are expected to continue in parts of Nebraska and Iowa this afternoon after parts of the region saw precipitation over the weekend.
Rainfall is likely as a storm system moves across the area, according to the National Weather Service. Some locally heavy rainfall is possible, although severe weather isn’t expected.
The storms likely will continue into Tuesday night in northeastern Nebraska and northwestern Iowa, some of which may become severe. Large hail and damaging winds are the main hazards.
Meanwhile, much of the eastern seaboard is on watch as Hurricane Jose is expected to produce “life-threatening surf and rip currents and possible heavy rainfall,” the NWS said. Tropical storm watches are being issued from Delaware to Massachusetts, excluding New York City.
Maria has officially strengthened into a hurricane, putting the U.S. Virgin Islands on watch.