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U.S. grains: Corn, soy, wheat retreat as U.S. dollar strengthens

Wheat follows weak trend; Egypt buys Russian wheat

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn, soybean and wheat futures fell on Thursday, retreating from early advances as gains in the U.S. dollar and a setback in crude oil triggered broad-based selling in commodities, analysts said.

At the Chicago Board of Trade, December corn settled down 6-1/2 cents at $3.51 per bushel (all figures US$). November soybeans fell six cents to $9.75-1/2 a bushel and December wheat ended down 3-1/4 cents at $4.17 a bushel.

Energy and metals markets were also lower, and the 19-market Thomson Reuters CoreCommodity CRB Index fell about one per cent.

The euro fell and the greenback rose to its highest in seven months against a basket of major currencies after the European Central Bank president left the door open to more monetary stimulus at its policy meeting.

“Look at the dollar. That breakout to new highs is putting pressure on commodities as a whole, as we see a bit of risk-off trade. Crude oil is down $1 (per barrel), and that is putting pressure on corn and soybeans as well,” said Ted Seifried, chief market strategist for Zaner Ag Hedge.

A stronger dollar tends to make U.S. goods less attractive to those holding other currencies.

Corn retreated after the December contract touched $3.59-1/4 a bushel, its highest since July 19.

Along with pressure from the strong dollar and falling crude oil, corn faced scattered farmer selling as the U.S. harvest reached the halfway mark.

“Increased hedge pressure is… starting to affect the market as harvest advances. The simple fact the market has posted some solid advances over the past few weeks and (is) due for a correction is weighing on futures as much as anything,” Karl Setzer, analyst with MaxYield Cooperative, said in a note to clients.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported export sales of U.S. corn in the latest week at more than one million tonnes, above trade expectations for 700,000 to 900,000 tonnes.

Soybeans firmed in early moves, supported by strong export demand and technical buying, before turning lower.

USDA reported export sales of U.S. soybeans in the latest week at just over two million tonnes, well above a range of trade expectations for one million to 1.3 million tonnes.

Also, USDA through its daily reporting system said private exporters sold 192,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to unknown destinations in the last day.

But soybeans hit technical resistance and profit-taking after the November contract reached a one-month high at $9.89-3/4 a bushel, above its 200-day moving average.

Wheat fell, following the trend.

Toward the closing bell, Egypt, the world’s biggest wheat importer, said its main state grain buyer bought 120,000 tonnes of Russian wheat in a tender.

Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in Paris.

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