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FORT COLLINS: Speculators were forced to abandon short positions in Chicago-traded soyabean meal last week as tightness in the US market catapulted futures to the highest levels since July.

Soyabean meal was the only grain or oilseed in which funds recently began building sizable shorts, but they started easing up last month as supply issues began to surface. In the week ended Nov. 16, most-active futures surged 7.3% after what had been a steadier climb from the mid-October low.

Money managers in that week increased their net long in CBOT soyabean meal futures and options to 37,488 contracts from 9,299 in the previous week. That marked their biggest round of short covering in meal since August 2020, and gross shorts thinned to a three-month low.

Data from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Friday also showed that commercial end-users added more than 31,000 gross soyabean meal shorts through Nov. 16, their largest weekly add since early 2020. Crush margins are unusually high for the time of year.

Soyabean meal futures tacked on another 1.2% between Wednesday and Friday, and Friday’s settle of $371.80 per short ton is 20% above the Oct. 13 low.

Recent strength in soyabean meal may have prevented commodity funds from flipping to the short side in CBOT soyabeans for the first time since early 2020. Money managers increased their soyabean net long to 29,488 futures and options contracts through Nov. 16 from the previous week’s 12,137 contracts, which had been the lowest since June 2020.

Most of that stemmed from short covering, as most-active soyabean futures rose 3.2% during the week. Futures on Wednesday touched their highest point since Sept. 30 but drifted 1% lower in the last two sessions with global soyabean fundamentals still leaning slightly bearish.

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