U.S. grains: Corn, wheat, soybeans end week with losses

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn and soybean futures fell on Friday on concern that competition would stiffen on the export market, traders said.

Wheat futures also were weak as traders locked in profits from a short-covering bounce that pulled prices from multi-year lows.

Soybeans were on track to notch their biggest weekly decline since August. The soybean market has been under pressure from expectations that Argentine farmers will release stocks if new President Mauricio Macri goes ahead with plans to cut export duties and let the currency devalue.

“In beans, exports peaked in November and they will probably continue to work on down,” said Dewey Strickler, president of Ag Watch Market Advisors. “You just have to really scratch to find any positive news.”

Chicago Board of Trade January soybean futures fell 7-1/2 cents to close at $8.70-3/4 a bushel (all figures US$). Prices fell 3.9 per cent this week, their biggest weekly loss since a 7.5 per cent drop in the five trading days ended Aug. 21.

CBOT March corn ended down four cents at $3.75-1/4 a bushel. Corn posted a weekly loss of 1.6 per cent.

Argentina and Brazil could harvest big crops of both commodities in the coming months, increasing competition for U.S. supplies already under pressure from a firm dollar that makes U.S. commodities relatively more expensive.

CBOT March wheat, which gained 1.2 per cent this week, dropped five cents to $4.90-1/2 a bushel.

“Wheat prices are giving back a little of this week’s short-covering rally,” Bryce Knorr, senior editor at Farm Futures. “Weak demand won’t change without major problems in other growing regions and the winter doldrums are setting in.”

Brazil’s government crop supply agency Conab on Friday raised its forecast for the 2015-16 soybean crop to a record 102.5 million tonnes, up from 102 million seen last month, and said 57.5 million tonnes of that would be exported.

It also raised its forecast for the country’s corn production to 82 million tonnes from 81.9 million.

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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