U.S. grains: Soy higher after three-day skid

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures closed higher on Thursday, snapping a three-session slide, while corn and wheat rebounded from contract lows as fund-driven selling paused and forecasts signaled more U.S. planting delays, traders said.

Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) July soybeans settled up four cents at $8.72-3/4 per bushel (all figures US$).

CBOT July corn ended up 1-1/4 cents at $3.57-1/4 a bushel after falling to a contract low at $3.51-1/2, and July wheat finished up three cents at $4.41-1/2 a bushel after recording a contract low at $4.34-1/2.

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CBOT soymeal futures posted the biggest percentage gains in the soy complex, lifting soybeans. Front-month CBOT soymeal settled up $5.60 at $306 per short ton, rallying after dipping below $300 for the first time since March.

“It’s just a technical rebound,” said Terry Reilly, senior commodity analyst with Futures International in Chicago.

“Plus, there is this ongoing talk that the near-term weather forecast is not good for producers to plant. When you see delays in corn, you start shaving off some yields from your outlook for certain areas,” Reilly said.

Forecasts called for above-normal precipitation across much of the U.S. over the next 15 days, Maxar, a space technology company, said in a midday weather note.

Slowed by excessive moisture over the winter and early spring, farmers had planted six per cent of the U.S. corn crop as of April 21, behind the five-year average of 12 per cent, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said this week. Soybean planting was just one per cent complete.

Despite the slow start to planting, CBOT corn and soy futures have been under pressure all week as commodity funds add to sizable net short positions against a backdrop of ample domestic and world grain supplies.

The International Grains Council on Thursday raised its 2019-20 global wheat production forecast to 762 million tonnes, up three million from last month, and raised its world corn crop forecast to 1.125 billion tonnes, up one million.

A stronger dollar, which makes U.S. grains less competitive globally, added to bearish sentiment.

But fund selling appeared to slow on Thursday as the dollar index steadied near a two-year high and crop weather took the spotlight.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago; additional reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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