U.S. grains: Soybeans fall as harvest speeds up

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures eased on Tuesday after a U.S. government report showed farmers had increased their pace of harvesting what is expected to be a massive crop after a slow start, analysts said.

Corn and wheat futures also settled in positive territory, recovering early losses after holding support at key technical points. But bearish reports from the field kept the gains in check.

The soybean harvest flooded country elevators and processors with supplies which pressured bids on the cash market and cast a negative tone on future prices.

“Soybeans caught downward pressure in overnight trading as the pace of the U.S. harvest nearly caught up to the five-year average,” Farm Futures analyst Bryce Knorr said in a note to clients.

The U.S. soybean harvest was 70 per cent complete, ahead of analysts’ forecast of 64 per cent, the U.S. Agriculture Department said in its weekly crop progress and conditions report. That leaves farmers only three percentage points behind their five-year average.

Chicago Board of Trade November soybean futures ended down 5-1/4 cents at $9.75-1/2 a bushel (all figures US$).

The corn harvest, at 38 per cent complete, remained 21 percentage points behind the typical pace. Analysts had been expecting the corn harvest to be 44 per cent complete.

But USDA assessed 66 per cent of the U.S. corn crop as being in good to excellent condition, which compared with analysts’ forecast of 65 per cent.

“Part of the reason for the slow harvest is that the yields are better than expected,” Charlie Sernatinger, global head of grain futures at ED+F Man Capital.

CBOT December corn ended up 1-1/2 cents at $3.52-3/4 a bushel. Support was noted at the contract’s 10-day moving average.

USDA said 75 per cent of U.S. winter wheat was planted, ahead of analysts’ forecast of 73 per cent.

“U.S. wheat planting is also going well while large wheat export supplies from the Black Sea region continue to be a burden,” said Graydon Chong, senior commodity analyst with Rabobank. “Some background support is coming from fears of a large reduction in the Australian crop after poor weather.”

CBOT December soft red winter wheat was up 1-1/4 cents at $4.38 a bushel. Support was noted at the contract’s five-day moving average.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago; additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Colin Packham in Sydney.

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