U.S. grains: Wheat hits contract lows

U.S. wheat futures fell 1.1 per cent on Monday, hitting new contract lows because of plentiful global supplies and a wave of technical selling, traders said.

Corn futures also fell, but soybeans firmed on bargain buying following a weak start.

Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat notched the biggest loss, with the ample global stockpiles eroding demand on the export market for U.S. supplies.

“Wheat is looking to be a huge crop this year,” said Karl Setzer, a commodity trading adviser with the MaxYield Cooperative in West Bend, Iowa. “U.S. wheat is highly priced in the global market. We are just not seeing anyone come out and really buy any.”

CBOT March wheat closed down seven cents at $6.21-3/4 a bushel, slightly above the contract low of $6.21 hit early in the session (all figures US$). Losses accelerated after the contract dropped below key technical support at the low end of its 20-day Bollinger range.

KCBT March hard red winter wheat and MGEX March spring wheat also hit contract lows.

U.S. corn futures were lower for the third session in a row on continuing concerns that China could reject more U.S. corn and leave huge domestic stockpiles following a record-large U.S. harvest.

The benchmark CBOT March corn contract was off 2-1/4 cents at $4.23-1/4 a bushel. The contract has lost 3.7 per cent during the three-session losing streak.

China’s strict checks for an unapproved strain of genetically modified corn in U.S. cargoes are likely to continue until early next year as Beijing seeks to curb cheap imports and support domestic corn prices, industry sources said on Friday.

“The key factor for the price trend will come from the revision or not of Chinese imports, currently forecast at seven million tonnes,” French consultancy Agritel said, referring to a U.S. government estimate of 2013-14 Chinese corn imports.

Soybean futures bucked the overall downward trend, firming after prices for the most actively traded January contract briefly fell below their 20-day moving average.

CBOT January soybeans ended up 10-1/4 cents at $13.37-3/4 a bushel.

Soybeans have found support in relatively tight U.S. stocks, but the prospect of bumper South American crops early in 2014 has eroded bullish sentiment.

Soybeans also found support from strength in soymeal. The January soymeal futures contract gained 1.5 per cent.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Monday morning that export inspections of soybeans were 62.527 million bushels in the latest week, topping forecasts for 52 million to 58 million.

Wheat export inspections were line with expectations, but corn inspections of 25.077 million bushels came in below forecasts for 34 million to 38 million.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain futures markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Colin Packham in Sydney.

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