Open interest in crude oils has been rising pretty steadily this year. Sometimes that money is buying, other times selling. Money managers were doing the latter according to this week’s CFTC tally, dumping nearly $550 million in crude oil futures and options as of Tuesday. But prices moved higher at the end of the week, after the government reported a drop in both crude oil and diesel inventories.
Hedge funds were buying some ag commodities in the latest week, including soybeans, cotton and livestock. But selling in wheat and corn was heavier overall, pushing the net positions of big speculators down by 10,856 contracts. Investors buying index funds for exposure to commodities were also selling lightly this week.
Big speculators were at it again last week, selling for the 13th straight week. These hedge funds increased their bearish bet in corn by another 19,743 to 190,296, its widest level since May. Funds were buying after the USDA report – was it the start of a turnaround?
Friday’s CFTC report showed big speculators still short 9,108 contracts as of Tuesday after cutting their bearish bet by 6,488 contracts. Hedge funds were heavy buyers Thursday and Friday after a bullish USDA report, which may mean they’ve finally turned the corner into a net long position.
Vegetable oil prices turned higher this week but funds were still selling, lightening up their net long position by another 4,531 contracts. That still leaves the big speculators long 26,255 lots.
Big speculators finally turned bullish on soybean meal, buying a net 10,249 contracts to shift to a small bullish bet as of Tuesday. That’s helped drive prices higher, which is good news for soybeans because meal makes up most of the value of the oilseed.
Back to selling
Big speculators covered some of their short position in soft red winter wheat as September flipped to October, but the buying didn’t last for long. Hedge funds were selling last week again, adding 3,834 contracts to their bearish bet.
Big speculators have been long hard red winter wheat since June, but no more according to Friday’s commitments data. Big speculators sold 8,490 contracts net in the latest week to shift to a small net short position.
Large traders bought spring wheat in the last week according to Friday’s CFTC tally, helping prices firm – at least as of Tuesday. The market broke after a bearish USDA report on Thursday triggered more liquidation.