U.S. grains: Soybeans, wheat close lower

(Keith Weller photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures fell on Wednesday in a technical setback following two days of modest gains, traders said.

Wheat futures also weakened as a bleak fundamental picture, highlighted by plentiful global stocks, cast a bearish tone across the agriculture sector.

Corn was mixed, with some contracts edging higher on a late round of short-covering after trading in negative territory most of the day. Some contracts settled unchanged while some ended slightly lower, weighed down by weakness in soybeans and wheat.

Signs that export demand for U.S. supplies was drying up added further pressure to soybeans after the market firmed during the overnight session. U.S. exporters have reported just one sale of soybeans to the government this week and only two last week.

“After another day of not seeing a private export sale, that got the trade on the defensive,” said Brian Hoops, president of Midwest Market Solutions, a brokerage and commodity marketing advisory service. “That is what is weighing on the market.”

Analysts were expecting a U.S. Department of Agriculture report on Thursday morning to show that export sales of soybeans were in a range from 700,000 to 1.1 million tonnes in the latest week, down from 1.297 million a week earlier.

Chicago Board of Trade soybeans for January delivery closed down 6-1/4 cents at $8.57-3/4 a bushel (all figures US$).

Prices hit resistance after a firm open pushed the market near levels not reached since before USDA forecast record U.S. production in its monthly supply and demand report on Nov. 10.

CBOT December wheat ended down 4-1/4 cents at $4.83-1/4 a bushel. The front-month wheat contract hit its lowest since Sept. 21.

CBOT December corn was down 1/4 cent at $3.61-3/4 a bushel. CBOT March corn gained 1/4 cent to $3.68-1/4.

Analysts said forecasts for rain that will boost production in key wheat-growing areas were weighing on prices.

“Global supply prospects have improved in recent days and with continued soft demand for U.S. supplies, there hasn’t been much to support prices,” said one Sydney-based grains trader, who declined to be named as he is not authorized to talk to the media.

Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Colin Packham in Sydney and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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