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3 Big Things Today, April 15, 2024

1. Soybean, grain futures lower overnight

Soybean futures were lower in overnight trading on concerns about global demand for U.S. supplies. 

Exports of soybeans since the beginning of the marketing year on Sept. 1 are now at 37.3 million metric tons, down 18% from the same timeframe a year earlier, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Commitments from overseas buyers to purchase U.S. beans are down 19% to 40.9 million metric tons, USDA data show. 

Soybean imports into China, the world’s largest buyer of the oilseeds, fell in March to the lowest for the month in four years, the country’s custom agency said on Friday. 

Imports last month were reported at 5.54 million metric tons, the agency said. That’s down almost 20% year over year. 

USDA last week reduced its outlook for soybean exports from the U.S. to 1.7 billion bushels versus the month earlier outlook for 1.72 billion. 

Exports a year earlier totaled 1.992 billion bushels, the government said. 

Also weighing on soybean and grain prices is a relatively strong dollar. The U.S. currency is hovering near its strongest level against a basket of its counterparts since November. 

A strong greenback makes U.S. goods traded in dollars less attractive to overseas buyers. 

Soybean futures for May delivery fell 3¢ to $11.70 3/4 a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soymeal lost $2.80 to $341.60 a short ton and soy oil added 0.32¢ to 46.21¢ a pound. 

Corn futures were down 1 1/2¢ to $4.34 a bushel. 

Wheat futures for May delivery dropped 6 3/4¢ to $5.49 1/4 a bushel, and Kansas City futures fell 3 1/2¢ to $5.86 1/4 a bushel. 

2. Speculators raise bearish bets on corn

Investors last week raised their net short positions, or bets on lower prices, in corn while reducing their bearish holdings in beans, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Speculators held a net 255,666 futures contracts in corn in the seven days that ended on April 9, the CFTC said in a report. That’s up from 250,015 contracts a week earlier. 

In soybeans, meanwhile, money managers were short by 126,357 futures contracts last week, down from 127,018 contracts, the agency said. 

Hedge funds and other large investment firms held a net-short position of 44,540 contracts in hard red winter wheat futures. That’s up from 40,810 contracts seven days earlier. 

Investors reduced their net shorts in soft red winter wheat to 85,806 futures contracts, down from 91,016 a week earlier, the CFTC said in its report. 

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. Red flag warnings issued in several states

Red flag warnings have been issued for a large swath of land stretching from South Dakota into West Texas and east into northwestern Iowa, according to the National Weather Service.

In northwestern Iowa and southwestern Minnesota, winds today will be sustained from 15 to 25 mph with gusts of up to 35 mph in the forecast, NWS said in a report early this morning. 

In the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, winds will range from 20 to 30 mph and gust up to 50 mph, the agency said.

Humidity will drop as low as 5%. 

“A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures will create favorable weather for rapid fire growth and spread,” NWS said. “Avoid activities that promote open flames and sparks.”

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