U.S. grains: Soy futures near six-week low on U.S. harvest, trade woes

(Scott Bauer photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters – U.S. soybean futures slid on Tuesday to their lowest prices in about six weeks as advancing domestic harvests increased crop supplies.

Corn and wheat futures also fell.

Additional market pressure stemmed from concerns about the ongoing U.S.-China trade war and the rising dollar, which makes American farm goods less attractive to importers, traders said.

Largely favorable weather for harvesting in the U.S. Midwest is keeping open the window for more farmers to finish gathering bumper corn and soybean crops.

Many farmers are putting their soybean crops into storage, however, rather than selling them to processors and traders, because of lackluster export demand.

“The fundamentals still aren’t very good with a solid crop coming in and disappointing export sales,” said Tomm Pfitzenmaier, analyst for Summit Commodity Brokerage in Iowa.

Chicago Board of Trade November soybeans lost 5-1/2 cents to close at $8.33-1/2 a bushel. In earlier trading, the front-month contract touched $8.32-1/4 a bushel, its lowest since Sept. 20.

CBOT December wheat fell 7-1/2 cents to $4.99-3/4 a bushel. December corn ended 2 cents lower at $3.64-3/4 a bushel.

The markets struggled as the U.S. dollar rose to a 16-month high against a basket of major currencies, traders said.

The gains pressured wheat futures in particular because wheat is highly dependent on exports this time of year, said Brian Hoops, president of U.S. broker Midwest Market Solutions.

“Unless that dollar breaks significantly, which would lower our prices, I think we’re going to have a tough time with our export markets,” Hoops said.

Beijing imposed tariffs on imports of U.S. soy in July as part of the trade dispute with Washington, bringing American soybean sales to China to a near halt.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he expected “a great deal” with China on trade, but warned that billions of dollars worth of new tariffs were ready to be imposed if a deal was not possible.

China is the world’s top soy importer and bought $12 billion worth of the oilseed from the United States last year, making soybeans America’s top farm export to China.

“U.S. soybean sales to the rest of the world are brisk but this is not enough to replace sales to China,” said Matt Ammermann, commodity risk manager with INTL FCStone.

On Wednesday, which is first notice day for deliveries against CBOT November soybean futures, deliveries should be moderate, traders and analysts said, citing weak cash values. (Additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Colin Packham in Sydney

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