U.S. grains: Soybeans fall to 1-month low as weather boosts prospects

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Chicago/Reuters – U.S. soybean futures dipped to a one-month low on Thursday as beneficial rains crossed the Midwest crop belt, bolstering yield prospects for the oilseed crop, traders said.

Corn followed soybeans downward, but pared losses as analysts mulled private corn yield estimates that fell below the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) forecasts.

Wheat hit a seven-week low. As of 12:47 p.m. CDT (1747 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade November soybeans were down 21 cents at $9.56-1/2 per bushel after dipping to $9.55-1/2, the contract’s lowest since June 30.

CBOT December corn was down 1 cent at $3.78 a bushel, after posting a one-month low at $3.75, and September wheat was down 3 cents at $4.57-3/4 a bushel.

Soybeans led the way downward as traders responded to showers falling in Iowa and Minnesota, the Nos. 2 and 3 soy-producing states, respectively. Soybeans this month are setting pods, the key stage for determining yields.

“Widespread rains moved through the western Corn Belt overnight. When combined with cooler temperatures, this creates a near-perfect scenario for soybean development,” MaxYield Co-operative market analyst Karl Setzer wrote in a research note to clients.

CBOT corn futures were lower but underpinned by fears that the USDA might lower its yield forecast in a monthly crop report next week. The report will include the government’s first 2017 corn production forecasts based on field data.

Private analytics firm Informa Economics on Thursday pegged the U.S. corn yield at 165.9 bushels per acre (bpa), trade sources said, below the USDA’s trend-based forecast of 170.7 bpa.

Commodity brokerage INTL FCStone on Tuesday put the corn yield at 162.8 bpa. Informa’s soybean yield estimate was 47.3 bpa, trade sources said, and INTL FCStone put the soy yield at 47.7, close to the USDA’s trend-based forecast of 48.0 bpa.

CBOT wheat was headed lower for a fourth straight session, pressured by technical selling and disappointing weekly U.S. export data.

The USDA reported export sales of U.S. wheat in the latest week at 145,500 tonnes, a marketing year low that fell below a range of trade expectations for 300,000 to 500,000 tonnes.

Also bearish, showers were expected in the southern U.S. Plains winter wheat belt, recharging soil moisture where farmers will start planting the 2018 crop in a few weeks.

“There are big rains forecast for the hard wheat area,” Dan Cekander of DC Analysis said, adding, “and of course the export sales were not very robust.”

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