U.S. grains: Corn, soy retreat on rain in Midwest, profit-taking

(Scott Bauer photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn and soybean futures eased on Wednesday after better-than-expected rains fell in the Midwest crop belt, prompting investors to take profits after recent highs, analysts said.

Wheat futures also declined, pressured by the expanding U.S. winter wheat harvest and plentiful global stocks.

At the Chicago Board of Trade, soybeans for July delivery settled down 13-1/2 cents at $11.56 per bushel (all figures US$). July corn finished down 7-1/2 cents at $4.29 a bushel and July wheat fell 7-1/2 cents at $4.77-1/2 a bushel.

Spot corn futures hit a two-year high last week and spot soybeans set a 22-month top, buoyed by improved export prospects due to problems with South American crops and a hot spell in the Corn Belt.

Showers on Tuesday and Wednesday brought relief to areas where soil moisture has been waning in the heat, and more rain was expected in the northwest Midwest this weekend.

“While many forecasts are calling for a return to high temperatures across the Corn Belt this weekend and into next week, there are also high chances of precipitation as well. In all reality this is highly favourable for trend or better yields,” Karl Setzer, analyst with the Iowa-based MaxYield Cooperative, said in a daily note.

Soybeans briefly pared losses after the National Oilseed Processors Association in a monthly report said its members crushed 152.8 million bushels of soybeans in May, more than analysts expected and the most on record for the month.

CBOT wheat posted its fifth straight daily decline, anchored by good yields in early U.S. harvesting and a backdrop of hefty global supplies.

The market drew underlying support from expectations of increased use of wheat as livestock feed, potentially replacing corn in some areas. The premium for spot CBOT wheat over CBOT corn fell below 50 cents a bushel this week for the first time in nearly three years, reflecting huge domestic and world wheat supplies and tightening U.S. corn stocks.

Corn, soybeans and wheat all closed near session lows, pressured by declines in crude oil and equity markets after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged and investors stewed over an impending vote in Britain on whether to leave the European Union.

— Julie Ingwersen 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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