U.S. grains: Corn falls on stronger dollar, ample supplies

(Canada Beef Inc. photo)

Reuters — Corn fell one per cent on Friday and soybeans weakened slightly due to ample supplies and a stronger dollar, which made U.S. exports pricier.

U.S. wheat hit a contract low before prices rose modestly due to bargain-buying, traders said. The nearby contract posted a weekly loss of six per cent.

Spread trades involved selling corn and buying wheat to partly correct corn’s price gains over wheat in the previous session, said Terry Linn, broker and analyst at The Linn Group in Chicago. Technical selling also pressured prices, traders said.

Chicago Board of Trade May corn dropped 1.2 per cent or 4-1/2 cents at $3.86 per bushel (all figures US$). The nearby March contract was down 1.4 per cent over the week.

Soybeans eased for a fifth straight session to a new three-week low as easing disruption from a truckers’ strike in Brazil kept the focus on an expected bumper harvest in South America that could curb U.S. exports.

“Beans have been under pressure every single day this week,” Linn said, adding that traders were erasing soybeans’ gains from February. “Fundamentally, nothing has very much changed since the start of February to today. You still have record crops… and that should weigh on this market.”

CBOT May soybeans ticked down 1/2 cent to $9.85. The nearby March contract was down five per cent for the week.

Investors looked ahead to supply/demand estimates due out Tuesday from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Chicago May wheat edged up 0.4 per cent or two cents to $4.82-1/2 a bushel after slipping to a contract low of $4.78-1/4.

U.S. wheat is struggling to find business as European exporters such as France and Germany win demand in the Middle East and Africa, aided by euro weakness. The dollar was up 1.3 per cent against a basket of currencies.

But some analysts said U.S. wheat might find a footing.

“U.S. wheat was too expensive but at $4.80 we don’t see much reason to go lower unless the USDA report throws up a surprise,” Alexis Poullain of French consultancy Agritel said.

— Rod Nickel is a Reuters correspondent covering the agriculture and mining sectors from Winnipeg. Additional reporting for Reuters by Mark Weinraub in Chicago, Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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