U.S. grains: Soybeans fall on improved Brazil weather forecasts

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures fell for a fifth straight session on Monday as forecasts for rains across Brazil’s key producing region Mato Grosso eased concerns of potential yield losses in the world’s largest exporter.

Corn futures fell to life-of-contract lows on fears of slowing export demand, and wheat followed the weak trend, erasing early advances.

At the CBOT, most-active March soybeans settled down 11-3/4 cents at $8.61-1/4 per bushel (all figures US$).

March corn ended down 3-1/2 cents at $3.61 a bushel after hitting a contract low at $3.60-1/2. March wheat fell one cent at $4.66-1/2 a bushel, a penny above its contract low.

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CBOT soybeans posted the biggest declines as the market responded to forecasts for beneficial rains in Brazil’s Mato Grosso state next week.

“With beans, there was hope that dryness would give us a (bullish) story as we came back from Christmas. Instead, the models are stronger in calling for a wet pattern, starting at the end of the week and continuing next week in those areas that have been dry,” said Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist with INTL FCStone.

Corn futures fell on plentiful global stocks and poor demand for U.S. supplies.

“We are just not competitive in the world market. You’ve got Argentina taking center stage, setting the low selling price in the world on corn, wheat and beans,” said Don Roose, president of Iowa-based U.S. Commodities.

Declines in energy markets added to the bearish tone, with both Brent and U.S. crude oil down more than three per cent. Corn can be influenced by the energy market because it is used to make ethanol fuel.

CBOT wheat futures retreated from early advances as soybeans and corn sagged.

Winter storms brought snow, ice and high winds to the southern U.S. Plains winter wheat belt over the weekend, snapping power lines and closing roads. Rain and sleet moved into the eastern Midwest on Monday.

While complicating the movement of livestock and harvested grain, the moisture and snow cover should benefit the Plains hard red winter wheat crop, Suderman said.

However, flooding in southern Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas may threaten that region’s soft red winter wheat.

“It’s a little too soon to tell what the overall effect will be, but where water stands for a week or more this time of year, the crop often dies,” said Emerson Nafziger, an extension agronomist with the University of Illinois.

Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Colin Packham and Sybille de La Hamaide.

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