U.S. grains: Wheat falls on technical selling, rainy forecasts

(Stephen Ausmus photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters –– U.S. soft red wheat futures fell two per cent on Wednesday on profit-taking coupled with forecasts for beneficial rains next week in parts of the southern Plains and the Black Sea region, analysts said.

Corn fell in sympathy with wheat and amid U.S. harvest progress while soybeans drifted lower, one day after surging nearly three per cent.

At the Chicago Board of Trade, December wheat settled down 10-3/4 cents at $5.08-1/4 per bushel (all figures US$).

CBOT December corn ended down 5-1/2 cents at $3.79, and November soybeans fell 3-1/2 cents at $9.10-1/2 a bushel.

Wheat posted the largest move, but some traders viewed the selloff as technical in nature. Others noted forecasts for showers next week in portions of the southern U.S. Plains, where dry conditions have hindered wheat planting and germination.

“They are talking about a little better weather for both the U.S. Plains and former Soviet Union areas. I think that’s weighing on wheat a little bit. And wheat has had a pretty good rally,” said Jim Gerlach, president of A/C Trading in Fowler, Indiana.

CBOT December corn fell below its 50-day moving average near $3.81, a bearish signal for technical traders, and dipped to $3.78-1/2, a three-week low.

The U.S. Corn Belt has been mostly dry in recent weeks, ideal for harvest. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said 42 per cent of the U.S. corn crop was cut as of Sunday, near the five-year average of 43 per cent.

And with the soybean harvest winding down in states like Minnesota and Illinois, farmers have been turning their attention back to corn. USDA reported the U.S. soybean harvest as 62 per cent complete.

“Corn is kind of suffering from throes of harvest,” Gerlach said.

CBOT soybeans came under pressure from profit-taking after the November contract set a two-month high at $9.19-3/4. The market advanced Tuesday on signs of fresh demand from top global soy buyer China and worries about planting weather in Brazil.

Conditions in Mato Grosso, Brazil’s top soybean state, have been dry, while farther south, Rio Grande do Sul has endured excessive rains.

“South American weather is somewhat bullish for beans and a non-event for corn and wheat,” said Ted Seifried, market strategist for Zaner Ag Hedge.

Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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