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U.S. grains: Soy, corn sag ahead of USDA report, election

Wheat firm on short-covering

(Dave Bedard photo)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures fell on Wednesday for a fourth straight session on long liquidation and profit-taking ahead of a key government crop report and market jitters over next week’s  presidential election, analysts said.

Corn also declined, with the December contract nearing a three-week low. Wheat firmed on short-covering as investors headed for the sidelines.

Chicago Board of Trade January soybeans settled down 6-3/4 cents at $9.86-1/2 per bushel (all figures US$).

December corn ended down 2-3/4 cents at $3.46-1/4 a bushel after dipping to $3.44-1/4, its lowest since Oct. 13. December wheat rose 3-1/2 cents at $4.17-3/4.

Soybeans sagged on worries that the U.S. Department of Agriculture might next week raise its forecast of the U.S. soybean yield from its current estimate of 51.4 bushels per acre, already a record high. USDA’s next monthly supply/demand report is due on Nov. 9, the day after Election Day.

Commodity brokerage INTL FCStone late on Tuesday raised its soybean yield estimate to 52.8 bu./ac. from 52.5 last month. The firm also raised its corn yield estimate to 175.3 bu./ac., up from its October figure of 175.2.

“FCStone was higher than what they had earlier, so that may have set the tone,” said Brian Basting, an analyst with Advance Trading in Bloomington, Illinois.

Pressure also stemmed from declines in global equity prices and the dollar, as investors were rattled by signs the U.S. presidential race was tightening just days before the vote.

Some traders exited positions, triggering long liquidation in soybeans and short-covering in CBOT wheat.

“With the polls tightening up, people are looking at this risk-off trade. It comes for ags right in front of the (USDA) report,” said Joe Davis, a director with Futures International in Chicago.

Corn fell despite supportive weekly U.S. ethanol data. The U.S. Energy Information Administration showed an increase in production and smaller stockpiles of corn-based ethanol in the latest week.

Wheat firmed on short-covering, with the December contract reaching $4.20-1/4 a bushel, its highest level in nearly two weeks, before paring gains.

Commodity funds hold a large net short position in CBOT wheat, leaving the market susceptible to bouts of short-covering.

Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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