July 10, 2018
The trade dispute between the U.S. and China continues to roil markets, but big speculators weren’t pressing the downside aggressive in soybeans ahead of tariffs that took effect Friday.
Here’s what funds were up to through Tuesday, July 3, when the CFTC collected data for its latest Commitment of Traders. The date came out Monday due to the Independence Day holiday.
Big speculators at the end of June turned bearish on agriculture for the first time since the end January, and they extended their small net short position last week, selling a net 32,687 contracts. Investors using index funds to gain exposure to commodities also sold.
Big speculators focused selling on corn, after flipping bearish the previous week. In all these hedge fund managers extended their small net short position by 27,764 contracts, while index funds cut 17,789 contracts from their net long position.
Big speculators sold soybeans again last week but barely scratched the surface of their positions after prices slipped to 9 ½-year lows. Funds boosted their bearish bean bet by only 2,425 contracts.
Funds returned to the short side in the oil market last week, extending their bearish bet by another 4,293 contracts, moving back closer to June’s multi-year low.
Big speculators liquidated more of their bullish bet in soybean meal last week, but only by a little, selling a net 2,241 contracts. Index traders sold nearly twice as much.
Big speculators gave wheat prices a boost last week by covering some of their short position in soft red winter wheat, reducing their bearish bets by 15,139 contracts. Index traders were net sellers on the weak, however.
Big speculators still have on a net long position in hard red winter wheat, but that bullish bet is getting smaller. Hedge funds sold 13,789 contracts last week.
Large traders were large sellers of spring wheat last week, taking their net short position in Minneapolis to its widest level since 2005.
Bulls are back
Money managers were aggressive buyers of crude oil last week as futures rose to their highest level since 2014. These funds added $3.2 billion in crude futures and options.
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