U.S. grains: Wheat drops on profit taking, export prospects

(Lisa Guenther photo)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat futures fell 2.3 per cent on Wednesday, retreating from near six-month highs on a round of profit taking and ideas that the recent rally had made U.S. supplies uncompetitive on the global market, traders said.

Corn and soybeans edged higher, turning positive late in the trading day. Soybeans received technical support after falling to their lowest since Oct. 27 while a round of short-covering boosted corn.

Wheat notched its worst daily decline in percentage terms in two weeks.

“We are way out of the market,” said Shawn McCambridge, senior grains analyst for Jefferies Bache. “Prospects are pretty slim for securing additional market share overseas.”

Egypt, the world’s largest buyer of wheat, on Tuesday announced it had bought 175,000 tonnes of wheat from Romania and Ukraine. U.S. supplies offered in the tender were priced more than $25 per tonne above the wheat Egypt purchased.

Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat for March delivery dropped 13-3/4 cents to close at $5.89-1/2 a bushel.

K.C. hard red winter wheat for March delivery lost 12-1/2 cents at $6.39-3/4 a bushel. Hard red winter wheat, which traders said faced additional pressure from heavy deliveries against the expiring December contract and improving conditions in the U.S. Plains, has shed 4.4 per cent during the past two days.

CBOT January soybeans gained 2-1/2 cents to close at $9.98-1/4 a bushel. CBOT March corn rose 3/4 cent to $3.82 a bushel after finding support at its 40-day moving average. Corn broke a streak of three straight negative closes.

The rebound in corn and soybeans was kept in check by expectations for large crops in Brazil and Argentina, with more beneficial rains expected in those countries in the coming days.

“South American plantings and weather continue to roll along nearly ideally, and we’ve passed peak seasonal exports in the U.S., so bullish traders are grasping at straws to find much support in the (soy) complex,” Matt Zeller, director of market information for INTL FCStone, said in a note to clients.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering crop commodity markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Colin Packham in Sydney and Nigel Hunt in London.

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