U.S. grains: CBOT wheat slides from one-month high

(Stephen Ausmus photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat futures fell two per cent from a one-month top on Thursday on a round of profit taking, with plentiful global supplies allaying concerns about adverse crop weather in Australia and the Black Sea region, traders said.

Corn futures edged lower, pressured by the expanding harvest of what is expected to be a huge crop in the U.S. Midwest.

Soybean futures rose, buoyed by some bargain buyers stepping into the market after prices eased to a 6-1/2-year low. Export deals with China, the world’s top buyer of the oilseed, also lent support.

Despite hitting a one-month high, wheat prices remained anchored by forecasts for a further buildup in global supply this season, which has stiffened competition between exporting countries such as the U.S., Russia and France.

“Nothing has changed fundamentally with the supply and demand issue out there,” said Chris Robinson, senior trader and analyst at Top Third Ag Marketing. “It is going to take a lot more than a little bit of dryness in the Ukraine to get the bulls really excited.”

Chicago Board of Trade December wheat futures ended down 10-1/4 cents at $4.97-1/4 a bushel (all figures US$).

Dry weather affecting winter grain sowing in Ukraine and Russia and frost threatening wheat crops in Australia had pushed CBOT December wheat to $5.09 a bushel, its highest since Aug. 25 overnight.

But the market retreated as traders and analysts said Australia had avoided widespread production losses, and that it was too early to predict if dryness in the Black Sea zone would affect next year’s harvest.

Additionally, the International Grains Council boosted its forecast for world wheat production by seven million tonnes to a record 727 million tonnes.

CBOT December corn futures settled down 1-3/4 cents at $3.81-1/2 a bushel. Poor overseas demand also weighed on the corn market, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture reporting weekly export sales below trade forecasts.

CBOT November soybeans were 4-1/4 cents higher at $8.68 a bushel.

Chinese importers signed agreements to buy a total of 13.18 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans valued at about $5.3 billion at a ceremony in Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday.

USDA said soybean export sales totaled 1.316 million tonnes in the latest week, including 762,700 tonnes to China. The total topped the high end of a range of analysts’ forecasts.

Mark Weinraub 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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