Home / Commodities / Commodity News / Funds raise bullish corn bets while awaiting USDA forecast -Braun

Funds raise bullish corn bets while awaiting USDA forecast -Braun

Speculators have been bullish Chicago corn for nearly a year and it has been even longer for soybeans, though those views will be tested on Thursday with a pivotal production forecast from the U.S. government.

In the week ended Aug. 3, money managers increased their net long in CBOT corn futures and options to 246,500 contracts from 228,009 the week prior, their third consecutive week of net buying.

However, funds reduced their net long in CBOT soybean futures and options by nearly 16,000 to 78,286 contracts, close to their least bullish stance in a year.

Trade volumes in corn and soy remain relatively light for the date as traders await U.S. crop forecasts due on Thursday from the Department of Agriculture. The upcoming report often sets direction for a stagnant market, and large price swings can occur.

Analysts expect U.S. corn yield to come in at 177.6 bushels per acre, down from USDA’s trendline of 179.5. Soybean yield is seen at 50.4 bpa versus the trend of 50.8, and both yields are predicted lower due to drought in the northwestern Corn Belt.

Weaker export demand has also pressured prices, which are at multiyear highs due to abnormally tight stocks. Top buyer China has been unusually absent from the U.S. market, though some soybean sales came in at the end of last week.

Futures were slightly higher late last week, partially driven by uncertainty over weather forecasts for parts of the United States. December corn CZ1 rose 0.9% between Wednesday and Friday, and November soybeans SX1 were up 1.3%.

It is a bit more common for commodity funds to be bullish soybeans this time of year versus corn. Just ahead of the August USDA reports, they are often already bearish the yellow grain or bullish but selling off.

The last two times funds ended August net long corn were in 2015 and 2020, but that was barely the case last year. They have been bullish ever since.

Money managers maintained bullish views in the soy products through Aug. 3. They increased their net long in soybean oil by more than 3,000 contracts to 64,687 futures and options contracts, though they reduced their net meal long to 17,929 contracts from 22,193 a week prior.

Most-active soybean oil futures BOv1 fell nearly 1% between Wednesday and Friday but soymeal futures SMv1 jumped 2.3%.

Through Aug. 3, money managers boosted their net long in CBOT wheat futures and options to 15,308 from 3,067 a week earlier on a 7.4% jump in most-active futures, fueled by global crop worries.

U.S. wheat output is seen falling on Thursday, mostly on an expected 20 million-bushel cut to the spring wheat crop to 325 million bushels. USDA’s current estimate would already be the smallest spring wheat harvest since 1988.

The wheat market is also eyeing problems in top exporter Russia, where crop estimates are shrinking after unfavorable weather in both July and during the winter. USDA last month pegged the harvest at 85 million tonnes, but Russian consultancies recently made predictions well below 80 million.

Money managers increased their net long in Kansas City wheat futures and options for a fourth consecutive week through Aug. 3, to 38,166 contracts from 31,765 a week before. That is their most optimistic view since March.

They also lifted bullish bets in Minneapolis wheat futures and options to 10,178 contracts from 8,326 a week earlier. CBOT, K.C. and Minneapolis wheat futures all fell fractionally in the last three sessions.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Karen Braun; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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