U.S. grains: Wheat hits 10-month high on weather, turns lower

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat futures eased from 10-month peaks on Thursday as profit-taking eroded early gains stemming from dry weather in the U.S. Plains and other major growing areas around the world.

Soybeans slipped from three-week highs as hedge-related selling offset earlier support from signs of renewed export demand from top buyer China. Corn retreated from 10-month highs as accelerated farmer sales in the cash market sparked commercial selling.

Forecasts for hot, dry conditions in the U.S. Plains wheat belt has fueled concerns about drought-reduced crops in key production areas.

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Meanwhile, dry weather in parts of Canada, Australia and Russia — all major wheat exporters — have fueled expectations of a tightening supply balance after record inventories forecast for this season.

Dry weather in wheat areas of southern Russia over the next 10 days could deplete subsoil moisture there to the lowest since at least 2008, Radiant Solutions Meteorologist Kyle Tapley said in a note to clients.

Chicago Board of Trade July wheat ended 3/4 cent lower at $5.30-1/4 a bushel after peaking at $5.45-1/4, the highest level since July 31 (all figures US$).

CBOT July soybeans settled down 3-1/2 cents at $10.35-3/4 a bushel and July corn was 4-1/4 cents lower at $4.04-1/4 a bushel, both also down from early highs.

Early-session gains spurred active farmer grain sales to elevators and processors, triggering commercial selling in futures as hedges were lifted.

The unfolding U.S.-China trade discussions along with adverse weather in several major exporting countries have brought volatility to grain markets in recent weeks, shifting attention away from large global stockpiles.

A Chinese importer on Tuesday purchased one cargo of U.S. soybeans for August shipment from the U.S. Pacific Northwest, according to traders, marking the first sale of U.S. soybeans to China since the two countries stepped back from a full-blown trade war.

China’s state grain stockpiler also returned this week to the U.S. soybean market for the first time since early April, a sign that Beijing is preparing to resume purchases.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed private sales of 264,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to an undisclosed destination, which traders said was likely China.

— Karl Plume reports on agriculture and agribusiness for Reuters from Chicago; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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