U.S. grains: Wheat bounces off four-month low

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat futures rose as buyers entered the market after prices hit a four-month low on Wednesday, while corn futures slipped for a third consecutive session on expectations for a bumper U.S. harvest.

Wheat rebounded after crumbling recently under sustained pressure due to the advancing U.S. harvest and amid intense competition for export business. The market shed nearly four per cent in the previous three sessions.

Importers will likely wait to issue major tenders to buy wheat under prices decline again, traders said.

Jordan made no purchase in an international tender for 100,000 tonnes of hard milling wheat that closed on Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday is expected to report U.S. wheat export sales were 300,000 to 500,000 tonnes last week, according to a Reuters poll of analysts. They estimated corn sales at 350,000 to 600,000 tonnes and soybean sales at 250,000 to 550,000 tonnes.

“Corn is being weighed on by prospects for large yields and thoughts old-crop demand might be overestimated,” said Karl Setzer, grain solutions team leader for MaxYield Cooperative.

Front-month wheat futures closed up 0.8 per cent, or 4-1/2 cents, at $5.75-1/2 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade (all figures US$). The contract earlier fell to $5.67-3/4, its lowest level since Feb. 7.

Front-month corn futures dipped 0.5 percent, or two cents, to $4.41-3/4 a bushel after closing down 0.3 per cent on Tuesday.

Spot soybean futures edged up 1/2 cent to $14.14 a bushel after closing off 0.8 percent in the previous session.

Traders adjusted positions ahead of U.S. Department of Agriculture reports due on Monday that will provide data on plantings and quarterly grain inventories.

The agency will likely report U.S. corn stocks totaled 3.722 billion bushels as of June 1, a four-year high for that date, and soybean stocks came to 378 million bushels, a 37-year low, according to a Reuters survey of analysts.

The markets felt some pressure as China, a major importer, said it would boost domestic grain reserves by 25 million tonnes this year, traders said.

— Tom Polansek reports on agriculture and ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Colin Packham in Sydney and Sarah McFarlane in London.

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