U.S. grains: Wheat, corn, soy tumble on better weather, technicals

Wheat notches biggest two-day percentage drop since 2016

(Ralph Pearce photo)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. grain and soy futures plummeted on Thursday, with wheat easing as much as five per cent in a technical selloff amid outlooks for slightly cooler temperatures and chances for rain next week in Midwestern growing regions, traders and analysts said.

Wheat, corn and soybeans extended steep losses from Wednesday that followed a U.S. Department of Agriculture monthly supply-and-demand report showing relatively robust global stockpiles of the crops.

“The fact the U.S. numbers were more bearish than expected took some of the heat out of CBOT wheat markets,” said Angus Thornton, commodity analyst at Profarmer.

Global benchmark Chicago Board of Trade September wheat settled 25-1/4 cents lower at a two-week low of $5.11-3/4 per bushel (all figures US$). The contract has declined from a 13-month high reached July 5 and notched its biggest two-day per cent drop since April 2016.

MGEX September spring wheat futures fell 33-1/4 cents to $7.49-1/2 per bushel, lowest since June 30.

USDA’s July report increased U.S. winter wheat production while reducing projected output of spring wheat — the variety that has been hit by drought and heat in the northern Plains — by less than expected.

USDA also raised its forecasts of end-2017-18 U.S. corn stocks to 2.325 billion bushels, up from 2.11 billion in June and above an average of analyst estimates of 2.181 billion.

CBOT September corn futures finished down 15-3/4 cents at $3.69-3/4. CBOT August soybeans were off 45-1/4 cents to $9.75-1/2 per bushel, falling to their lows late in the session.

Much of the U.S. corn crop goes through its yield-determining pollination phase in July. Forecasts for slightly less heat next week were seen as beneficial for the developing corn and soybean crops.

“There’s a little bit of a shift in weather patterns,” said EFG Group analyst Tom Fritz. “Next week, it’s going to be hot, but maybe not as hot as we thought. Toward the end of next week, we might have some moisture leaking in.”

U.S. grain and soy supplies also were falling out of favour in global export markets due to cheaper South America supplies. USDA earlier showed U.S. corn and wheat sales generally in line with the low expectations set by analysts while soybean export sales were slightly above expectations.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney and Gus Trompiz in Paris.

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