By Kirk Maltais

--Wheat for July delivery rose 3.5% to $6.87 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade on Monday, in reaction to frost again hitting Russian crops over the weekend.

--Corn for July delivery rose 0.4% to $4.72 a bushel.

--Soybeans for July delivery were virtually unchanged at $12.19 1/4 a bushel.


Another Round: Wheat traders reacted to a new round of frost in Russian fields. "Measuring losses associated with the freeze is difficult, but Russian export sources have dropped their all-wheat crop estimates to 84-86 million metric tons," AgResource said in a note. "The Russian wheat losses has raised the floor in world wheat fob prices well into 2025."

Starting Off on the Right Foot: Corn added to Friday's gains from the WASDE report, with traders reacting to the estimates showing both smaller production than expected and increasing demand for U.S. corn. "USDA anticipates better demand for U.S. corn with the cheaper prices seen now," Jack Scovlle of Price Futures Group said in a note. "Increased demand was noted in most domestic categories along with rising basis levels, and export demand has been strong."

Retracing Their Steps: The most recent CFTC Commitment of Traders report showed that fund traders cut their short positions in corn by nearly 90,000 contracts for the week ended May 7, while soybeans shorts were cut by just over 80,000 contracts and wheat shorts dropped by roughly 18,000 contracts in total. "Friday's report confirmed that fund managers have been actively unwinding short positions in these markets, even amid ample supplies, as the focus shifts toward reinflation," Arlan Suderman of StoneX said in a note. Suderman said the market is "vulnerable to downward correction" unless more fundamental improvements come to light.


Perked Up Interest: After declines in recent weeks, open interest in agricultural futures has turned the corner, JPMorgan Global Commodities Research said in a note. Open interest in agricultural futures rose 3.5% for the week ended May 10, the firm said, reversing recent weeks of declines as fund traders opted to cover their ample short positions in grains. Grains were among the leading commodities for inflows for the week, totaling $5.2 billion, JPMorgan said, with commodities in general getting a boost on indications of interest-rate cuts coming. "Our economists note that macroeconomic tail risks have diminished significantly and that the base of global growth is broadening," JPMorgan said. Open interest in agricultural totaled roughly $300 billion for the week.

Finding the Limits: Short-covering has been bolstering grain prices, but further gains may be limited as the spring planting season looks to be largely unfettered this year. "U.S. weather I would suggest is not threatening, with good rains forecast for the hard red wheat belt this week," Brian Hoops of Midwest Market Solutions said.

The Big Picture: The overall trend for grains and other commodities is expected to be generally lower until the Federal Reserve decides to cut interest rates. "It's bearish everything until the U.S. rates ease," John Payne of Advance Trading said. "The government wants cheaper prices, they usually get what they want." Overall markets are awaiting the next consumer price index report, due Wednesday, to better judge how soon an interest-rate cut may come.


--The EIA will release its weekly ethanol production and stocks report at 10:30 a.m. ET Wednesday.

--The USDA will release its weekly export sales report at 8:30 a.m. ET Thursday.

--The CFTC will release its weekly Commitment of Traders report at 3:30 p.m. ET Friday.

Write to Kirk Maltais at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

05-13-24 1523ET