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Big speculators turned long just in time to get walloped by USDA report

Bryce Knorr, Contributing market analyst

June 28, 2019

2 Min Read
maciek905/Thinkstock

The smart money betting on commodities appeared to be a day late and more than a dollar short this week after a big rally in crude and a shocking USDA report.

Here’s what funds were up to through Tuesday, June 25, when the CFTC collected data for its latest Commitment of Traders.

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Late to the party

Just six week’s ago big speculators held record bearish bets against agriculture. But this week’s CFTC report showed then finally turning long. These hedge funds added a net 52,633 contracts to adopt a most net long position, buying corn, soy and winter wheat while selling cotton and livestock.

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Long and wrong

Big speculators started trimming bullish bets on corn before Friday’s bearish USDA reports. But for the week ended Tuesday they were still net buyers, adding 48,731 net contracts to take their position to its biggest level in more than a year.

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Trimming the hedges

Big speculators covered more of their bearish bets in soybeans this week, buying back another 11,658 contracts and were probably glad they did after USDA cut its acreage estimate Friday.

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Small change

Hedge funds were only small buyers of soybean oil in the latest week, cutting 369 contracts off bearish bets. Plunging palm oil futures on weaker export ideas held back buying.

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Not quite

Big speculators trimmed some of the shorts added the previous week, buying a net 2,752 contracts but still hold a small net short position in meal overall.

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Eight is great

Big speculators covered bearish bets against soft red winter wheat for the eighth straight week buying 3,983 contracts. The hedge funds are still short, running into a red-hot cash market in Toledo.

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Follow the leader

Funds bought more hard red winter wheat last week, trimming 3,743 lots off their net short position, which also fell for the eighth straight week.

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Special delivery

Large traders in Minneapolis started selling spring wheat again this week, adding 3,132 net short contracts just in time for heavy deliveries Friday on first notice day for July futures.

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Too cautious

Money managers were small sellers of crude oil as of Tuesday, liquidating futures and options worth around $75 million. But prices surged the next day after the government reported a huge drop in inventories.

About the Author(s)

Bryce Knorr

Contributing market analyst, Farm Futures

Bryce Knorr first joined Farm Futures Magazine in 1987. In addition to analyzing and writing about the commodity markets, he is a former futures introducing broker and Commodity Trading Advisor. A journalist with more than 45 years of experience, he received the Master Writers Award from the American Agricultural Editors Association.

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