U.S. grains: Soybeans slide on profit-taking before crop reports

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures on Friday retreated from a two-week high reached the previous session as traders booked profits ahead of the release of key U.S. crop reports.

Wheat futures climbed after Canada said farmers had planted fewer acres of the crop than expected, while corn was little changed.

Traders were adjusting positions in the markets before the U.S. Department of Agriculture issues hotly anticipated data on quarterly grain stocks and crop plantings on Monday.

They have already factored in expectations for the agency to report U.S. soy stocks as of June 1 were at a 37-year low for that date, said Karl Setzer, grain solutions team leader for MaxYield Cooperative in West Bend, Iowa. Strong demand from top importer China and other buyers has drained supplies.

“Even with this low number for soybeans, trade may pay more attention to the corn stocks to see if feed demand has been as great as expected,” Setzer said.

USDA is expected to report corn stocks as of June 1 were at a four-year high and wheat stocks were at a six-year low, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.

November soybean futures closed down 1.3 per cent at $12.28 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade, having closed up 1.2 per cent on Thursday. Front-month soybeans dropped 0.3 per cent to $14.32.

Front-month July corn edged up 0.06 per cent to $4.43 a bushel, having closed up 0.4 per cent on Thursday. December corn gained 0.9 per cent to $4.47-1/4 a bushel

Corn futures set a five-month low last week on expectations for large stocks and a bumper U.S. harvest, while soybean futures hit a three-month low last week.

Profit-taking put renewed pressure on soybeans after futures surged on Thursday on larger-than-expected U.S. export sales, said Jack Scoville, vice president for Price Futures Group in Chicago.

“We’re just taking money off the table before the weekend,” he said.

USDA, in Monday’s report, is expected to increase its soybean plantings estimate by 0.8 per cent from March to 82.2 million acres.

Statistics Canada helped support wheat futures, traders said, by lowering its estimate for all-wheat plantings by 2.7 per cent from April to 24.1 million acres. That was below the average of analysts’ estimates for 24.5 million acres. [Related story]

September wheat futures advanced 1.5 per cent to $5.93-3/4 a bushel. The contract has recovered slightly since setting a four-month low of $5.77 on Wednesday.

— Tom Polansek reports on agriculture and ag commodity futures for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Colin Packham in Sydney.

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