U.S. grains: Harvest pressure, profit-taking pull down corn, soy

(FIle photo by Allan Dawson)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean and corn futures fell on Thursday, pressured by profit-taking after a streak of gains and by weakness on the cash market, traders said.

Wheat futures rose slightly, with short-covering supporting prices. Wheat also received support from the Egyptian government’s decision to reverse its zero-tolerance policy on the common grain fungus ergot, which raised hopes of a resumption of deals by the world’s top buyer of the grain.

Soybeans notched the biggest decline, shedding 1.5 per cent after a four-session rally pushed prices to their highest in nearly a month.

Traders said farmers in parts of the Midwest were aggressive sellers of recently harvested soybeans, causing commercial operators to hedge cash market deals with sales in the futures market. Cash market bids for corn also weakened as many growers began harvest.

Weather forecasts for the weeks ahead “still do not look ideal for an extended harvest window, but central and eastern belt farmers should at least be able to make good headway in the coming days, starting to bring in these record 2016 U.S. crops,” Matt Zeller, director of market information at INTL FCStone, said in a note to clients.

Chicago Board of Trade November soybean futures closed down 14-1/4 cents at $9.75-1/2 a bushel and CBOT December corn was off 1/2 cent at $3.40 a bushel (all figures US$).

“There is some selling pressure today in soybeans and corn following their rises in past days, said Graydon Chong, senior commodities analyst with Rabobank. “But markets remain relatively rangebound, with corn especially reaching the upper parts of its range so it is not unusual to see a move down at such a point in markets.”

CBOT December soft red winter wheat ended up 1-3/4 cents at $4.07-3/4 a bushel.

Egypt said Wednesday it was reinstating a 0.05 per cent tolerance level for ergot. The country, which issued a fresh tender for supplies after the market closed, had seen its imports grind to a halt since it imposed a ban on ergot last month.

Signs of rising demand from India also helped wheat close higher but ample global supplies limited the gains.

Indian importers have purchased around 76,000 tonnes of Ukrainian-origin wheat in the past couple of weeks after two years of poor domestic output.

“If the Indian government decides to remove its import duty on wheat there could be big new sales to India in the near future,” one European trader said.

Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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