U.S. grains: Soy lower as supply worries ease

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures fell on Thursday, retreating from early gains as worries about tight old-crop supplies abated and forecasts called for favourable weather that should bolster yields, traders said.

Corn followed soybeans lower, while wheat rose in a short-covering bounce after hitting multi-month lows this week. U.S. markets will be closed on Friday for the Independence Day holiday.

In a shortened, pre-holiday session at the Chicago Board of Trade, August soybean futures settled down 15 cents at $12.99-3/4 per bushel, dropping below psychological support at $13 (all figures US$).

The contract ended the week down nearly six per cent, pressed by a U.S. Department of Agriculture report on Monday that showed old-crop soybean supplies above trade expectations, although still historically low.

Additional pressure stemmed from prospects for an early soy harvest in the Mississippi River Delta that could replenish tight U.S. inventories weeks ahead of the primary Midwest harvest.

“I think we could see $12.50 on August beans, mainly because of the number of beans in the South that can come north. Those guys planted a lot of beans as early as they could, and they are undermining the spreads,” said Gordy Linn, president of the Linn Group, a Chicago brokerage.

Corn followed soybeans lower on near-ideal weather as the corn crop nears pollination, a critical stage in determining yield. The U.S. Midwest has received significant rains in recent weeks, and forecasts showed no sign of damaging heat.

“You would think there might be a bit of short-covering ahead of the weekend, but the forecast is favourable, and it’s hard to get anything going,” said Dan Cekander, analyst with Newedge USA.

USDA reported weekly export sales of U.S. soybeans, corn and wheat toward the high end of trade expectations, but the data failed to spark a rally.

“The lacklustre response to today’s export sales reports underscores that (the) market’s primary focus is (the) improving new-crop supply outlook,” R.J. O’Brien analyst Rich Feltes said in a client note.

Benchmark December corn settled down 2-3/4 cents at $4.15-1/4 a bushel after hitting a contract low at $4.14-1/2. For the week, the contract fell 7.2 per cent.

CBOT wheat firmed on bargain buying. Most-active September rose four cents at $5.79-1/2 a bushel, up from Monday’s five-month low of $5.67-1/2. But the contract still finished the week down 2.4 per cent.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering grain and oilseed futures markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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