U.S. grains: Soybeans fall to one-week low on Brazil strike pause, harvest

(Lisa Guenther photo)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybeans fell to a one-week low on Tuesday in a technical selloff sparked by a weakening truckers strike in Brazil and the advancing harvest of what’s expected to be Brazil’s biggest soy crop ever.

Soybean futures trimmed their losses late in the session while corn and wheat each reversed earlier declines to settle mostly higher, lifted by bargain buying and news of another strike, this time by farmers in Argentina.

Chicago Board of Trade May soybeans finished 1-1/2 cents lower at $10.12-1/4 per bushel, a dime above their lows (all figures US$).

Prices earlier tumbled on signs of a resolution in Brazil, where truckers were blocking roads, preventing soybeans and other goods from reaching port. There were 18 roadblocks, down from more than 100 a week ago, with a key highway open in the soybean state of Mato Grosso following meetings between the government and truckers protesting rising freight costs.

However, Argentina’s main growers organization said farmers there will suspend grain sales for three days to protest export quotas. The strike could limit the flow of agricultural products, pushing export demand to the U.S. and underpinning prices.

CBOT May corn settled three cents higher at $3.91 per bushel and CBOT May wheat jumped six cents to $5.06.

Plentiful global grain supplies, coupled with a strong dollar that expanded the competitive disadvantage of U.S. supplies in global markets, continued to anchor prices. Wheat earlier tested its more than four-month low reached last week.

“U.S. wheat is hardly able to compete internationally at prices well above $5 given that the U.S. dollar is also continuing to appreciate,” Commerzbank said in a note. “We therefore see little upside potential for U.S. wheat in the current environment and would regard any phases of price strength as merely temporary.”

— Michael Hirtzer reports on grain markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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