Speculators continue to accumulate US corn, soybean shorts: CFTC

18 Feb 2024 | Mark Shenk

Investors in the US corn and soybean markets continued to accumulate shorts in the week ending February 13, sending the net short in both contracts to new multi-year highs, a report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) showed late Friday.

Corn and soybean futures fell in the week covered by the CFTC report after the US Department of Agriculture's World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates report on February 8 showed small dips in the output forecast for both crops.

Speculators increased shorts in two of the three US wheat markets while boosting longs in all the wheat contracts.    

Managed money investors in the corn market boosted shorts by 22,618 lots during the week covered by the report, bringing the total to 489,187, a 250-week high.

Long positions increased by 6,021 lots to 174,846.

The boost in shorts, coupled with the smaller rise in longs bolstered the net short by 16,597 lots to 314,341, a 251-week high.

Open interest in the corn market jumped by 42,855 contracts to stand at 2,038,849, an 86-week high.

The same dynamic was at work in the soybean market where investors increased short positions by 8,880 lots, bringing the total to 183,548, a 246-week high.

Soybean long positions held by managed money investors rose by 4,680 lots to 49,048.

The advance in shorts together small gain in longs, led to a 4,200-lot increase in the net short to 134,500, the highest in 247 weeks.

Open interest in soybeans rose by 13,790 contracts to 1,005,227, a 17-week high.

The soybean oil market net short dropped by 8,785 lots to 35,440, while the soybean meal net short surged by 13,002 lots to 27,592, a 121-week high.

Speculators in the Chicago wheat market, the most active US wheat contract, reduced short positions by 6,851 lots to 135,003.

Long positions jumped by 4,215 lots, bringing the total to 79,331 contracts, a 10-week high.

The decline in shorts and the increase in longs trimmed the net short by 11,066 lots to 55,672, a 27-week low.

Investors in the Kansas wheat contract increased short positions by 4,701 lots, bringing the total to 81,825, an 11-week high.

Speculators boosted the number of longs they held by 1,690 lots, which sent the total to 45,417.

The gain in shorts coupled with the smaller rise in longs boosted the net short by 3,011 lots to 36,408.

The Minneapolis wheat contract posted a 96-lot gain in shorts, bringing the total to 31,525.

The number of longs climbed by 1,170 lots to 6,693, the highest level in 27 weeks.

The rise in shorts and the bigger advance in longs led to a 1,074-lot decrease in the net short, leaving it at 24,832, an 18-week low.