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U.S. grains: Wheat, corn and soybean futures post sharp declines

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Chicago / Reuters – Chicago Board of Trade corn and soybean futures fell on Tuesday, with investors shrugging off bigger-than-expected declines in U.S. crop ratings to focus on forecasts for better weather, traders said.

“Rains expand tonight through Thursday from northwest Midwest into Ohio Valley,” Commodity Weather Group said in a note to clients.

Wheat futures also fell, led lower by a 4.4 per cent drop in MGEX spring wheat.

U.S. wheat was seen as too pricey for the export market. Wheat faced additional pressure from early findings from the Wheat Quality Council’s tour of North Dakota, the top production state for spring wheat.

Field surveys from the southeastern part of the state showed yield prospects that were better than expected. Wheat, corn and soybeans all closed near session lows. CBOT November soybean futures ended down 17-1/4 cents at $9.92-3/4 a bushel.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Monday afternoon that 57 per cent of the U.S. soybean crop was in good to excellent condition, down from 61 percent last week.

Analysts had expected a reading of 60 percent. But the latest weather outlook appeared beneficial to soybeans as they head toward their key development month of August.

“That bean ratings decline was pretty big yesterday afternoon but the excitement for that wore off pretty quick,” said Matt Zeller, director of market information at INTL FCStone. “There is still plenty of time left for beans (to recover).”

CBOT December corn futures were off 8-1/2 cents at $3.82-1/4 a bushel.

“At this time of year, it is weather forecasts above all which determine what happens on the agricultural markets,” Commerzbank said in a note.

USDA said the corn crop was 62 per cent good to excellent as of July 23, 1 percentage point worse than market forecasts.

CBOT July soft red winter wheat futures were 14-3/4 cents lower at $4.74 a bushel, their ninth losing session in the last 10 days. Egypt’s state grain buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities bought 420,000 tonnes of wheat in an international purchase tender on Tuesday. Of the total, GASC bought 300,000 tonnes of Russian wheat, 60,000 tonnes of Romanian wheat and 60,000 tonnes of Ukrainian wheat.

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