U.S. grains: Soybeans sag as harvest gets rolling

(Photo courtesy United Soybean Board)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures fell about 1.3 per cent on Monday as anecdotal reports of better-than-expected yields from the early harvest in the Midwest began to trickle in, traders said.

Wheat futures turned higher on fund short-covering ahead of a key U.S. government crop report on Friday while corn was little changed.

Chicago Board of Trade November soybeans settled down 13 cents at $9.71-1/4 per bushel (all figures US$).

CBOT December wheat ended up 4-1/2 cents at $4.54 a bushel while December corn rose 1/4 cent at $3.53-3/4 a bushel.

Soybeans eased, with the November contract falling back below its 200-day moving average, a level which served as overhead resistance over the past month until a rally on Friday.

Combines were rolling in the heart of the Midwest, harvesting soybeans and corn. Unusually hot temperatures in the region over the last week have accelerated crop maturity and should promote a quick harvest pace in the coming days.

“In a lot of areas, yields are better than what the trade thought, for both corn and beans,” said Don Roose, president of Iowa-based U.S. Commodities.

Showers slowed field work in portions of the northwestern Midwest over the weekend, but the rest of the region stayed dry and should remain so this week.

Ahead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly crop progress report due later on Monday, analysts surveyed by Reuters expected the government to report the U.S. corn harvest as 14 per cent complete and the soybean harvest as 11 per cent complete.

Additional pressure stemmed from forecasts for beneficial rains in dry areas of Brazil, where farmers are preparing to plant soybeans.

Despite the declines, CBOT November soybeans stayed inside of Friday’s trading range.

CBOT December wheat climbed as traders squared positions ahead of the USDA’s small grains and quarterly stocks reports, due Friday.

Also, commodity funds hold a large net short position in CBOT wheat, leaving the market vulnerable to short-covering rallies.

The biggest move in wheat was on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, where December spring wheat settled up 14 cents at $6.48-3/4 per bushel after reaching $6.51-3/4, its highest level since Sept. 8.

“Minneapolis spring wheat prices surged on positive chart signals, with the winter wheat markets following reluctantly behind,” INTL FCStone chief commodities economist Arlan Suderman said in a client note.

— Julie Ingwersen is a commodities correspondent for Reuters in Chicago.

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