U.S. grains: Wheat falls to five-month low on dollar, big supplies

(Michael Thompson photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Reuters — Chicago wheat futures fell to their lowest nearby price in five months on Thursday, pressured by the stronger dollar and huge global supplies.

Soybeans fell for the fourth straight session on bleak export prospects in the face of stiff competition, traders said. Corn finished slightly higher.

Chicago Board of Trade May wheat dropped 3.1 per cent, or 15-1/2 cents, to $4.80-1/2 a bushel, and set a contract low (all figures US$). The March contract, which traded in lighter volume, fell to the lowest nearby price since October.

Selling based on technical indicators accelerated the drop, traders said.

U.S. wheat has failed to win business in several recent international tenders, with cheaper supplies from Europe cornering sales.

“Frankly, the United States is just too high (priced),” said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities. “There’s too much wheat on the world market.”

European and Black Sea region countries have ample amounts to sell, he said.

The dollar was up 0.4 per cent against a basket of major currencies, making U.S. supplies more expensive in world markets.

May soybeans fell 0.9 per cent, or 8-1/2 cents, to $9.85-1/2 a bushel, touching their weakest since Feb. 12.

South American soybean producers are expected to flood the market as a record harvest peaks and supply bottlenecks ease as a truck drivers’ strike in Brazil petered out.

The market had added a premium to soybean prices to account for the strike, and traders were removing it, Roose said.

May corn edged up one cent, at $3.90-1/2 a bushel, helped by technical buying. The U.S. government reported weekly export sales in the range of market forecasts.

Rod Nickel is a Reuters correspondent covering the agriculture and mining sectors from Winnipeg. Additional reporting for Reuters by Mark Weinraub and Michael Hirtzer in Chicago.

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