U.S. grains: Wheat extends losing streak

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Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures fell for the third day in a row to their lowest in more than seven weeks on Thursday on expectations that U.S. supplies will continue to struggle to gain traction on the global export market, traders said.

Corn futures ended firm, supported by bargain buying and short-covering despite pressure from the wheat market and expectations for a massive U.S. crop.

Soybeans also edged higher, but concerns about the ongoing trade fight with China kept a lid on a rally.

Wheat declined the most, with the benchmark CBOT December soft red winter wheat contract ending down eight cents at $5.13-3/4 a bushel (all figures US$).

“It is the idea of still having too much wheat around,” said Steve George, president of brokerage Allendale. “Exports have not picked up. You are not looking for big sales there.”

Analysts expect a U.S. Agriculture Department report on Friday morning to show weekly wheat export sales in a range from 200,000 to 500,000 tonnes.

“Black Sea exporters are still actively selling wheat in Asia and other regions, so there is less demand for U.S. wheat,” said one Singapore-based trader at an international trading company.

Russia’s agriculture ministry repeated on Thursday it had no plans to impose a tax on wheat exports, as speculation remains that the country, one of the world’s largest wheat exporters, might move to limit wheat shipments later in the season because of a smaller crop.

CBOT November soybean futures were up 1-1/4 cents at $8.39-1/4 a bushel.

The soybean market is struggling against the backdrop of a trade war between the United States and top importer China that includes a 25 per cent Chinese tariff imposed on U.S. soybeans.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the U.S. was not yet ready to come to an agreement over trade disputes with China but added talks would continue.

Grain traders also were awaiting the results of ongoing U.S.-Canada trade talks.

CBOT December corn was up one cent at $3.66-1/4 a bushel.

Closely watched private analytics firm Informa Economics on Thursday raised its 2018 U.S. corn yield forecast to 178.8 bushels per acre from its previous estimate of 176. It also boosted its soy yield outlook by 2.9 bushels per acre, to 52.9.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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