Your Reading List

U.S. wheat tumbles on weak exports

U.S. wheat futures tumbled more than two per cent on Friday, concluding their biggest two-month slide in a year as weak U.S. exports and large deliveries fueled selling after a run-up in prices earlier in the week.

End-of-the-month liquidation put added pressure on wheat, which posted its biggest daily decline in nearly three weeks.

Soybeans fell in November for the third straight month and corn futures had their fourth straight monthly drop as traders took profits and November came to a close.

"We’re seeing some end-of-the-month liquidation. They (traders) generally don’t like piling on a position into December that could disrupt year-end profits," said Allendale Inc. analyst Rich Nelson.

Wheat, soybeans and corn futures each posted modest weekly gains, with the higher prices earlier this week helping chill global demand for U.S. supplies.

"We rallied the market up on anticipation of export demand and we rallied away from the export price," Charlie Sernatinger, analyst at ABN Amro in Chicago, said of the wheat.

Shrinking supplies in the Black Sea region, the cheapest wheat in the world, were expected to prompt more demand for U.S. wheat, but the buying has yet to materialize. The world’s top wheat importer Egypt on Friday tendered for wheat for the first time in a month, with some traders optimistic the U.S. would win the business.

Large wheat deliveries posted on first notice day against Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) December wheat futures also weighed. The CBOT said 2,119 wheat contracts were issued for delivery, more than double the average trade estimate.

CBOT December wheat finished 20-1/2 cents lower at $8.65 per bushel, while most-active March shed 22 cents to $8.63-1/2, a 2.4 per cent drop (all figures US$).

Wheat futures had their largest two-month decline in a year after shedding four per cent in October and two per cent in November.

"Wheat got smoked good and proper as the charts turned down and the bullspreaders got caught by surprise Chicago deliveries," Sernatinger added.

A streak of declines

Corn futures declined the fourth straight month, losing ground in each frame since hitting a record high in August of $8.43-3/4 per bushel. That marks the longest monthly losing streak since falling five straight months in 2008.

The most-active March corn contract finished six cents lower at $7.52-3/4, with losses capped by commercial buying at the lows, traders said.

Soybean futures fell the third straight month, the first such streak since mid-2011, with soy for January delivery ending 9-1/4 cents lower at $14.38-3/4.

"We have some lingering concerns over those export sales from yesterday," Nelson said. "It also suggests that corn and bean sales could increase in the coming (weekly export sales) report."

U.S. export sales of soybeans, wheat and corn last week were the smallest in three weeks, with each missing traders’ expectations, U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed Thursday.

— Michael Hirtzer covers the grain and livestock commodity markets in Chicago for Reuters. Additional reporting for Reuters by Nigel Hunt in London.



Stories from our other publications