U.S. grains: Corn, soybeans slip as investors book profits

(Canada Beef Inc. photo)

Reuters — Corn and soybeans fell on Wednesday as investors booked profits from recent gains, and with huge U.S. crops slowly coming off fields.

Chicago wheat rose on technical buying.

The rally was due to end, some said, after corn touched a seven-week high and soybeans notched a five-week top earlier in Wednesday’s session.

Roy Huckabay with the Linn Group, a Chicago brokerage, said earlier strength in the interior Midwest cash market for soybeans, meal and corn looked short-lived.

“I get the impression that we are just a matter of days away from basis levels imploding and having big issues with plugged space,” he said. “I think there are a lot of places that beans (are) in spaces dedicated to corn, and they are going to have to move it to make room for the corn harvest.”

The corn harvest was 31 per cent complete as of Sunday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said this week, up from 24 per cent a week earlier and below the average of 53 per cent.

Nearby Chicago Board of Trade December corn slipped three cents to $3.53 per bushel (all figures US$).

November soybeans eased 1-1/2 cents to $9.62-3/4 a bushel, having climbed 2.1 per cent on Tuesday.

Despite giving up earlier gains, soybeans are underpinned by strong demand and concerns about a late U.S. harvest and delayed planting in Brazil.

“It’s a period of time where there’s just huge demand for beans,” said Bill Nelson, oilseed analyst at Doane Advisory Services. “And there’s a little challenge with the late harvest, acquiring those beans and getting them out” to buyers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Wednesday that private exporters reported sales of 419,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China and 113,000 tonnes of soybeans to unknown destinations, all for delivery in 2014-15.

U.S. farmers had harvested 53 per cent of their soybean crop as of Sunday, up from 40 per cent a week earlier but below the five-year average of 66 per cent, according to USDA.

Brazil’s soy planting is 10 per cent complete for the 2014-15 crop, the slowest for this time of year since the 2008-09 season, consultancy AgRural said on Monday. Parts of Brazil are dry, but meteorologists said widespread rains should spread over all of the country’s grain, coffee and sugar-growing areas next week.

Chicago December wheat added three cents to $5.22-1/4 a bushel on technical buying. Traders said wheat pared its gains as corn and soybeans retreated.

— Rod Nickel is a Reuters correspondent based in Winnipeg. Additional reporting for Reuters by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago, Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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