U.S. grains: Soy falls from eight-month top

(Keith Weller photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures fell nearly one per cent on Thursday on profit-taking and softening cash markets following a four-session advance that lifted the spot May contract to an eight-month high, traders said.

Wheat futures ended lower one day after setting a one-week high. But corn settled modestly higher, supported by stronger-than-expected weekly U.S. export sales and worries about dry weather in Brazil.

At the Chicago Board of Trade, the May soybean contract settled down 7-3/4 cents at $9.48 per bushel after reaching $9.59-1/2, its highest since mid-August (all figures US$).

CBOT May wheat settled down 1-3/4 cents at $4.59-3/4 a bushel. May corn ended up 1/2 cent at $3.74 a bushel.

Soybeans paused after a dramatic run-up that saw the new-crop November contract climb roughly $1 per bushel since early March, triggering brisk cash sales by producers that pressed domestic cash basis bids.

“Farmer selling of beans in the U.S. has been extraordinary this week, both old crop and new crop,” ED+F Man Capital analyst Charlie Sernatinger wrote in a note to clients.

“We have already had more new-crop beans sold at this time this year than we had sold by the end of July last year,” Sernatinger said.

Forecasts for easing rains in Argentina’s saturated crop belt further pressured futures. Experts say that downpours may have ruined about five per cent of Argentina’s soybean farms.

“There is some profit-taking,” a European trader said in comments on the market’s retreat. “Eight-day forecasts are pointing to less rainfall in Argentina.”

The U.S. National Oilseed Processors Association’s monthly soybean crush report due on Friday should show the U.S. crush for March at 156.2 million bushels, up 6.9 per cent from February, according to a Reuters poll of seven analysts.

CBOT corn rose for a third straight day, closing near its session high after the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported net export sales of U.S. corn in the latest week at more than 1.2 million tonnes for old- and new-crop marketing years, topping trade expectations.

Also, dry conditions in Brazil are stressing that country’s winter corn crop. The Commodity Weather Group said in a daily note that rains would be “minimal” in the next 10 days, “as stress expands to nearly half of the belt.”

Consultant Agr Brasil lowered its forecast for Brazil’s 2015-16 corn crop by 3.87 million tonnes to 81.2 million tonnes, the firm’s analyst Pedro Dejneka told Reuters on Wednesday.

Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Naveen Thukral and Sybille de La Hamaide.

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