U.S. grains: Soy falls on big yields, gains for week on harvest delays

(Lisa Guenther photo)

U.S. soybeans fell more than one per cent Friday, losing ground for the first time in three sessions on pressure from impressive yield results during the early days of a record harvest.

Prices extended declines after a closely watched private forecaster raised its estimate for the U.S. soy harvest in a midday report. Soybeans held on to a small weekly gain as rains delayed fieldwork in the Midwestern crop belt during the latter half of the week.

Corn and wheat futures each edged narrowly higher as the rains and technically oversold conditions supported prices, but plentiful supplies and a rising dollar that made U.S. grain less competitive in global markets limited the upside.

The U.S. dollar surged to a four-year high on a bullish U.S. jobs report, which could allow shippers in Ukraine, Russia and South America to further undercut U.S. grain in top buying regions in Asia and the Middle East.

Chicago Board of Trade November soy shed 12-1/4 cents to $9.12-1/4 per bushel, nearly 10 cents above its 4-1/2 year low on Wednesday, but the weekly gain was only two cents (all figures US$).

“The harvest progress in beans is going to be north of 30 per cent for Monday. I don’t know about corn, maybe pushing 20 per cent. An awful lot of combines went to beans last week. Yields are still phenomenal,” said Roy Huckabay, an analyst at brokerage the Linn Group.

CBOT December corn finished 1/2 cent higher at $3.23-1/4 per bushel, above the recent five-year low of $3.18-1/4. CBOT December wheat was up three cents at $4.85-3/4 after hitting a four-year low last week.

Wheat gained 2.5 per cent on the week, the largest gain since the week ended Aug. 8. Corn was up 1/4 cent, or one trading tick, for the week, snapping a streak of six weeks without a gain.

“With all markets this week moving to four- to five-year lows, it can only be expected that at some time this will provoke a ‘bounce’ in the market,” David Sheppard, managing director of UK merchant Gleadell, said in a market note.

Storms delayed the harvest in much of the Corn Belt on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the Commodity Weather Group said, adding that more rains will slow the harvest for the next two weeks.

However, the delays are expected to result in only minimal crop loss, with several brokerages such as INTL FCStone and the Linn Group estimating corn and soy yields above the latest U.S. Agriculture Department forecasts. USDA will release its latest guidance in a week.

Private analytics firm Informa Economics, in a monthly crop report issued to clients on Friday, projected U.S. 2014 corn production at 14.395 billion bushels, with a yield of 176.4 bushels per acre (bpa). The figures are above Informa’s Sept. 19 estimates for a 14.024 billion-bushel crop with a yield of 171.8 bpa.

Informa raised its soybean yield estimate to 48.5 bpa from 46.5, and increased its production forecast to 4.017 billion bushels from 3.857 billion. The firm calculated the harvested area for corn at 81.611 million acres and for soybeans at 82.880 million acres.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago, Nigel Hunt in London and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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