Funds sell more CBOT corn and beans ahead of US stock data
U.S. government data on Friday revealed that U.S. corn, soybean and wheat supplies a month ago were all nearly identical to year-ago levels, but Chicago futures are significantly lower than a year ago and speculators have recently been in selling mode.
In the week ended Sept. 26, money managers increased their net short position in CBOT corn futures and options to 168,606 contracts from 144,815 in the prior week. This marks their biggest net short in corn since August 2020, and it nearly ties 2016 for the date’s most bearish corn view.
The move went against expectations for slight fund buying, as most-active CBOT corn futures Cv1 had drifted fractionally higher for the week.
Speculators have spent much of this year selling corn, apart from a couple scares for the U.S. corn crop caused by unusually dry weather. Corn optimism peaked in early 2021 and has been slowly trending downward since, owing recently to an expansion in gross short positions.
Speculative optimism in soybeans peaked in late 2020 and has been oscillating lower ever since, though investors have not yet flipped to the short side. Money managers’ net long in CBOT soybean futures and options dropped to a four-month low of 30,058 contracts as of Sept. 26, down from 45,832 a week earlier.
Most-active CBOT soybeans Sv1 fell 1% in the week ended Sept. 26, soymeal futures SMv1 rose 1% but soyoil BOv1 plunged more than 4%. Money managers expanded their net long in CBOT soymeal futures and options by about 3,300 on the week to 59,196 contracts.
They also cut their net long in CBOT soybean oil futures and options to a three-month low of 35,050 contracts from 47,064 a week earlier. That is funds’ least bullish late-September soyoil stance in four years.
Funds maintained their huge net short in CBOT wheat futures and options, which is the second largest for the time of year after 2016. Wheat futures Wv1 were about 1% higher through Sept. 26, and money managers’ resulting net short of 96,384 contracts was marginally below the previous week’s level.
Bearish sentiment increased last week in Kansas City and Minneapolis wheat futures and options, and money managers’ net shorts in both have become the largest since August 2020.
Friday marked several milestones for CBOT grain and oilseed futures, the most significant being a 6.4% dive in CBOT wheat futures, the biggest single-day decline since March 2022. Friday’s close of $5.41-1/2 per bushel is a four-year low for the date and down 41% from a year ago.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday published final U.S. wheat production estimates for 2023, and those came in above all trade estimates. However, Sept. 1 wheat stocks landed relatively close to expectations and were basically the same as in the last two years.
Most-active Kansas City wheat futures KWv1 on Friday fell to their lowest price since July 2021, and Minneapolis futures hit new contract lows in each month through July 2024.
Sept. 1 U.S. soybean stocks were above expectations but similar to the past two years, though soybean futures hit three-month lows on Friday. Soymeal futures touched six-week lows on Friday and soyoil fell to three-month lows.
Sept. 1 corn stocks were lower than predicted for the fourth time in the last five years, though corn futures moved lower in sympathy with wheat and soy. Corn futures have held up much better than wheat, soybeans or soybean products over the last month, though their settle on Friday of $4.76-3/4 per bushel is 30% lower than a year ago.
Over the last three sessions, losses in most-active CBOT futures are as follows: corn 0.6%, soybeans 2.1%, wheat 8.1%, soymeal 2.9%, soyoil 3.3%.
During the month of September, losses in most-active CBOT futures were as follows: corn 0.3%, soybeans 6.8%, wheat 10%, soymeal 5.6%, soyoil 10.6%.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Karen Braun; Editing by Sonali Paul)