U.S. grains: Wheat hits four-week low as relieving rains forecast

(Stephen Ausmus photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters –– U.S. wheat futures fell to the lowest levels in about a month while corn and soybeans also eased on Monday, pressured by forecasts for crop-friendly rains and plentiful global supplies, traders and analysts said.

Showers this week were likely to benefit parched wheat fields in Russia and the southern U.S. Plains while precipitation next week in northern Brazil should aid recently planted soybeans, the Commodity Weather Group said in a note.

“This front is going to bring some of that tropical moisture into Texas and maybe into Kansas. If that’s the case, then these guys will be pretty happy,” Jack Scoville, analyst at brokerage the Price Futures Group in Chicago, said of wheat farmers.

Wheat futures posted the largest declines, with K.C. hard red winter wheat tumbling more than two per cent while more-active Chicago Board of Trade December wheat shed 6-1/2 cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $4.85-3/4 per bushel, lowest since Sept. 21 (all figures US$).

“Weather forecasters and models continue to suggest some relieving rainfall this week and possibly next,” Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia said in a note. “Markets are treating these events now as having a higher probability, so prices have fallen.”

U.S. farmers also continued to gather their soybean and corn crops under mostly dry conditions in the Midwest that were favourable for fieldwork.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture in a weekly report after the close of trading said the soybean harvest was 77 per cent complete and the corn harvest 59 per cent complete. Harvest progress of each crop was roughly in line with analyst expectations and above last year’s pace and the five-year average pace.

CBOT December corn fell 3-3/4 cents to $3.73 per bushel, hovering just above its three-week low of $3.72-1/2 reached on Friday.

CBOT November soybeans were 7-1/4 cents lower at $8.91, declining for their fourth session in a row after hitting a two-month high last week.

Soybeans found little support from a separate USDA announcement that said 2.36 million tonnes of the beans were inspected for export last week, above analyst expectations that ranged from 1.2 million to 1.8 million tonnes. Wheat and corn export inspections both were below analyst estimates.

“(Investors) are not looking at the demand today, because the soybean export inspections were fabulous,” Scoville added.

Michael Hirtzer reports on grain and livestock markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Nigel Hunt in London and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.



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