Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat futures plunged 2.6 per cent on Thursday, snapping a six-session streak of gains as traders locked in profits from the rally.
Soybean futures were down two per cent, with the latest weather forecasts showing that some timely rains will arrive in key growing areas as the crop hits a critical stage of development.
Corn futures also posted sharp losses, with signs of weak export demand weighing on the market.
The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Thursday morning that weekly export sales of corn totaled a net -40,700 tonnes, largely due to cancellations from China. The weekly total was the lowest since July 2012 and the second smallest on record.
Chicago Board of Trade December corn futures were down 7-1/4 cents at $5.61-1/4 a bushel (all figures US$).
CBOT November soybeans were 27-1/4 cents lower at $13.62-1/2 a bushel.
“There is a little bit more rain in the forecast than we had been seeing,” said Ted Seifried, chief ag strategist with the Zaner Group. “It is further out so that will be extremely timely for soybeans.”
Soybeans in the U.S. Midwest typically reach their yield-determining phase of pod setting during August.
Traders also said that poor exports — USDA’s weekly report showed soybean export sales totaled just 238,400 tonnes — was weighing on soy futures as overseas buyers look for cheaper alternatives.
“Today’s export sales report should tell you that we have a problem in the demand category of both the corn and the beans,” Charlie Sernatinger, global head of grain futures at ED+F Man Capital, said in a note to clients.
CBOT September soft red winter wheat futures were down 18-1/2 cents at $6.92-1/4 a bushel. The contract had jumped 12.2 per cent during its six-session winning streak.
— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.