U.S. grains: Soy, corn sag on technical selling

(Scott Bauer photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures hit a 1-1/2-week low on Thursday, pressured by follow-through weakness after Wednesday’s poor technical close and some farmer selling, analysts said.

Corn futures sagged as forecasts called for improving weather in the U.S. Midwest, where wet conditions have stalled planting in some areas. Wheat futures were modestly higher.

Chicago Board of Trade July soybean futures settled down four cents at $9.66-1/4 per bushel after dipping to $9.63, the contract’s lowest since May 1 (all figures US$). CBOT July corn ended down 4-1/2 cents at $3.69-1/4 a bushel while July wheat rose two cents to end at $4.33-3/4 a bushel.

Soybeans extended declines after a weak finish on Wednesday, when the July contract surged to a six-week high, only to turn lower as traders digested figures in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s monthly supply/demand report.

The government’s forecasts of world soybean ending stocks for both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 marketing years came in above trade expectations on Wednesday.

As well, soy growers may have taken advantage of the market’s brief jump by selling some old-crop supplies.

“A small rally there attracted quite a bit of selling,” said Brian Hoops, analyst with Midwest Marketing Solutions.

Rising estimates of South America’s soy harvest added to bearish sentiment. Brazilian statistics agency Conab raised its estimate of the country’s 2016-17 crop to 113 million tonnes, from 110.2 million last month. And the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange raised its estimate of Argentina’s crop to 57.5 million tonnes, from 56.5 million previously.

CBOT corn futures fell as forecasts for warmer weather next week in the heart of the Midwest eased concerns about cold and wet conditions that have slowed planting and germination.

“This warmer weather will lead to a notable increase in soil temperatures and will favour corn and soybean germination and early growth,” MDA Weather Services said in a daily note.

Additional pressure stemmed from disappointing U.S. export data. The USDA reported export sales of U.S. corn in the last week at 222,600 tonnes (old and new marketing years combined), the lowest for a single week since June 2014.

Wheat futures firmed on short-covering and worries about excessive wetness threatening crop prospects in the Plains and Midwest. But plentiful global supplies hung over the market.

“Wheat continues to trade just above contract lows as it continued to feel the weight of soft demand following last year’s massive harvest,” INTL FCStone chief commodities economist Arlan Suderman wrote in a note to clients.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in Paris.


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