U.S. grains: MGEX spring wheat eases on rains

(Stephen Ausmus photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. grain and soy futures were mostly lower on Wednesday, with MGEX spring wheat declining from an earlier 2-1/2-year high on pressure from technical selling and forecasts for crop-friendly rainfall, traders and analysts said.

Chicago Board of Trade corn futures declined the most as scattered rains fell in the Midwestern crop belt and meteorologists predicted more precipitation during the next week.

Showers also were moving through spring wheat growing areas in the northern U.S. Plains and the Canadian Prairies, benefiting fields where drought conditions had been expanding.

“The rains helped prevent a disaster,” Risk Management Group broker Dan Maltby said of spring wheat futures. “This bought us some time, that’s for sure.”

MGEX July spring wheat futures settled 1/2 cent lower at $6.27-1/2 per bushel (all figures US$). That was down from their session peak of $6.45-3/4, the highest on a continuous chart since Dec. 24, 2014.

Maltby said the reversal could portend further declines, at least in the short term. “Going out on a limb here, but this reversal looks key to me,” he said.

CBOT July soft red winter wheat, the global benchmark, finished down two cents at $4.43 per bushel and K.C. hard red winter wheat up 1/2 cent at $4.57-1/2.

Corn futures for July delivery dropped 1.1 per cent, or four cents, to $3.77 per bushel, while CBOT July soybeans edged 3/4 cent lower to $9.31-3/4.

Record-high volume in Minneapolis wheat

Volume in MGEX wheat futures hit a record high of 33,453 traded contracts on Tuesday, topping the previous record from January of 27,095 contracts, the exchange said in a release.

Trading volume in wheat, corn and soy was lighter on Wednesday as investors looked for fresh news. That could come in the form of weekly U.S. grain export sales data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture early on Thursday.

Investment funds sold about 14,000 corn futures contracts on Wednesday as well as 6,000 wheat contracts and 3,000 soybean contracts, traders said.

“Wheat is out of steam for the moment — out of competitiveness for export and living on spring wheat strength to keep going,” one U.S. grains trader said.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in Paris.


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