U.S. grains: Soybeans retreat from August peak

(Keith Weller photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures slumped on Monday as traders took profits after prices reached their highest point since August on technical buying and last week’s government forecast for lower-than-expected plantings.

Corn prices ended mixed as traders digested the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) estimate for much larger-than-expected U.S. plantings of the yellow grain.

Most-active May wheat slid one cent to $4.74-3/4 a bushel at the CBOT (all figures US$).

“The large acreage increases, even if they are a bit overstated, are still going to be a big problem for the corn market,” said Tomm Pfitzenmaier, analyst for Summit Commodity Brokerage in Iowa.

Chicago Board of Trade most-active May soybeans ended down 4-3/4 cents to $9.13-1/2 a bushel. The contract earlier hit a session peak of $9.22-1/4, the highest price since Aug. 17.

Commodity funds sold an estimated net 5,000 soybean contracts.

Most active May corn edged up 1/2 cent to $3.54-1/2 a bushel. December corn, which represents the crop that will be harvested in the autumn, dipped 3/4-cent to $3.69.

On Thursday, USDA said U.S. farmers planned to sow 82.236 million acres of soybeans this year, the third-highest area ever but below 82.650 million a year ago and under an average trade forecast of 83.057 million.

USDA said farmers were planning to increase corn seedings by 6.4 per cent to 93.601 million acres, the third-highest level since 1944.

The large plantings have raised fears that massive global grain and soy supplies will swell even larger.

“At the end of the day, the only way to trim back the excess world supplies is to drop prices to stimulate demand,” Pfitzenmaier said.

Weakness in outside commodity markets, including crude oil and copper, helped depress grain prices, traders said.

Wheat came under additional pressure from expectations that USDA’s first weekly national crop progress report of 2016 would show relatively strong winter wheat condition ratings, they said.

USDA delayed the release of the report to Tuesday from Monday.

— Tom Polansek reports on agriculture and ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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