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Hedge funds extend longest soy bear run since 2006

NEW YORK — Hedge funds extended the longest bearish streak for soybeans in eight years as improving crop conditions bolster prospects for a record harvest in the U.S., the world’s largest grower.

Money managers have been betting on declines for five straight weeks, the most since October 2006. The U.S. on Aug. 12 raised its outlook for domestic production that was already forecast at an all-time high. The bumper harvest will swell global inventories to the biggest ever.

Prices tumbled 19 percent this year, the second-largest decline among the 22 raw materials tracked by the Bloomberg Commodity Index. The gauge last week erased its 2014 gains, led by a 24 percent plunge for cotton. U.S. stockpiles of the fiber are set to expand at the fastest pace in almost three decades, while American corn farmers will increase production to a record.

Global food costs tracked by the United Nations have fallen for four straight months.

“It’s going to be tough for the news to get any better because you’re talking about record crops and generally really nice yields and we’ve had great weather,” Rob Haworth, a senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, which oversees $124 billion, said Aug. 14.