Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybeans reversed earlier gains to fall two per cent on Thursday, pressured by a steep downturn in soymeal futures and smaller-than-expected private crushing data.
Wheat futures extended their worst downturn in six months on lacklustre export demand while corn was little-changed after falling to a five-week low in the previous session.
The National Oilseed Processors Association in a monthly report released at midday said soy crushers in the U.S. processed 165.383 million bushels of soybeans in December. The figure was just below the record-large crush from the same month in 2013 but came in near the low end of analyst expectations.
Coupled with a 2.6 per cent drop in Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) soymeal futures amid demand worries, the NOPA data was a sell signal in the soybean pit.
“I view (NOPA) as neutral but the trade thinks differently,” said Terry Reilly, analyst at Futures International in Chicago.
The soyoil yield was below expectations, supporting futures for the vegetable oil. “The selling of the meal and buying of the oil is a solid play today,” Reilly added.
Soybeans for March delivery fell 18-1/4 cents to $9.91 per bushel, finishing at the lowest level since Dec. 3 (all figures US$). Prices earlier fell to $9.85-1/4, lowest since Oct. 27.
Bearish outside markets continued to weigh on agriculture commodities, with crude oil sharply lower and the dollar at nearly a decade high, reducing the competitiveness of grain exports priced in the greenback.
“We came in with the dollar sharply lower. That market reversed higher, and that helped turn the sentiment in all commodities, including soybeans,” said Terry Linn, analyst at the Linn Group in Chicago.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier reported weekly sales of 818,700 tonnes of corn and 1.13 million tonnes of soybeans, above analyst expectations.
U.S. wheat exports of 284,700 tonnes were near the low end of estimates. Egypt’s main buying agency earlier announced a purchase of 240,000 tonnes of wheat from France. No U.S. wheat was offered in the tender, with supplies uncompetitive in the top global wheat market.
CBOT wheat for March delivery was about one per cent, or five cents, lower at $5.32-3/4 per bushel, capping its seventh consecutive down day.
CBOT March corn was down one cent at $3.80 per bushel, stabilizing after its largest two-day skid since June.
— Michael Hirtzer reports on agriculture and 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.