Insight - Funds’ bullish CBOT corn views fall to lowest since October 2020

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Crop concerns: Corn harvested in Iowa. Farmers are struggling with the impact of weather and ongoing tariffs. — Reuters

CHICAGO corn and soybean futures have undergone a significant downward correction within the last month, fuelled largely by signs of an economic slowdown and waning United States crop concerns.

Speculators during this time have notably eased their bullish bets, which have stood for more than two years in soybeans and nearly two years in corn.

They have yet to firmly plant their feet on the short side of the market, though there was increasing indication of that in the latest week.

In the four-day week ended July 5, money managers slashed their net long position in CBOT corn futures and options to 172,867 contracts from 228,615 a week earlier, and the new stance is their least bullish since October 2020.

They also cut their CBOT soybean net long to 105,048 futures and options contracts, the smallest since January and down from 124,498 a week earlier.

The week’s combined corn and soy selling, equivalent to 376 million bushels, was the most for any week since August 2019, though it ranks only 33rd among other selling weeks since 2010. That is despite 12% and 10% respective dives in corn and soybean futures during the period.

Money managers increased their gross corn shorts by more than 25,000 contracts through July 5, the most for any week in nearly two years, but this is not yet an established trend and overall shorts remain much lighter than usual. Funds also added nearly 8,000 gross soybean shorts.




Other reportable speculators marked their fifth consecutive week of notable selling in corn through July 5, slashing their net long by nearly 24,000 on the week to 44,078 futures and options contracts, their least bullish since June 2020.

Index traders trimmed overall corn positions by 2% in the week but raised them by a similar degree in both soybeans and Chicago wheat. Commercial end users have significantly reduced their corn net short since mid-May, when corn futures were on their highs.

As of July 5, commercials’ net short of 158,744 futures and options contracts, the equivalent of 794 million bushels, is their smallest since September 2020.

It is also substantially lighter than the May 17 net short equivalent of over two billion bushels.

Futures rallied over the last three sessions after once again reaching multi-month lows last week. December corn jumped 7.8%, settling Friday at US$6.23 (RM28) per bushel.

November soybeans ended at US$13.96 (RM62) Friday to cap off a three-day rise of 6.1%.

Trade estimates of fund activity continue missing the mark in Chicago wheat futures, which plunged nearly 14% in the week ended July 5. Commodity funds were pegged to have sold more than 40,000 wheat contracts, though their net futures and options selling was less than 1,100 contracts.

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