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Calm before the storm

Big speculators were cautious before rally took off

Futures languished early this week as big speculators were cautious about buying. That attitude changed into the end of the week of course, when funds stepped back into the market.

Here’s what funds were up to through Tuesday, June 11, when the CFTC collected data for its latest Commitment of Traders.

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Break room

Big speculators were small sellers overall last week, adding 7,378 positions to their bearish bets against agriculture, dumping cotton and beef and even some crops.

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Quiet time

After turning a record bearish bet bullish, big speculators took their foot off the gas earlier in the week, adding only 1,948 contracts to their new net long position. That changed in a hurry in the last three days of the week.

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Bearish pause

Big speculators began cautiously covering some of their short soybean positions in mid-May. The streak ended earlier this week when the hedge funds started selling again, adding 7,029 contracts to their net bearish bets.

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Oil trouble

Funds also sold soybean oil modestly, adding 1,127 contracts to bearish bets last week as vegetable oil prices languished in Asia.

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Little steps

Big speculators moved a little closer to ending their bearish bet in soybean meal this week, covering 796 contracts of their small net short position.

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Six-shooters

Big speculators kept chipping away at bearish bets in soft red winter wheat, covering 12,690 contracts of their net short position, the sixth straight week of buying for the funds.

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Fellow traveler

HRW has lagged far behind the other wheat markets lately, but big speculators followed the same pattern with Kansas wheat. They bought back bearish bets for the sixth straight week, trimming 1,948 contracts off their net short position.

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Almost there

Large traders in Minneapolis wiped another 2,448 contracts off bearish bets in spring wheat this week, whittling their net short position down to 1,161 lots.

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Bears prowl

Money managers this week sold more crude oil than at any other time this year, dumping nearly $2.9 billion worth of paper.

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