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U.S. grains: Wheat down on strong production prospects; corn, soy also weak

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New York | Reuters – Chicago wheat futures fell more than 1 percent to a one-month low on Monday, pressured by generally favorable U.S. crop conditions and expectations of abundant global supplies, traders said.

Corn fell in sympathy with wheat and on outlooks for improved planting weather in parts of the Midwest, and soybeans also slipped.

As of 12:30 p.m. CDT (1730 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade May wheat was down 8-1/2 cents at $4.35-3/4 per bushel after dipping to $4.35-1/4, its lowest since March 12.

CBOT May corn was down 2-1/2 cents at $3.56 a bushel and May soybeans were down 2-1/2 cents at $8.78 a bushel.

CBOT soft red winter wheat futures posted the biggest declines of the three commodities, while K.C. hard red winter wheat and Minneapolis Grain Exchange spring wheat futures fell to contract lows in nearly every contract month.

“Expectations are that the winter wheat is going to look really good for this afternoon. I think we all know that the spring wheat (planting progress) is behind, but I don’t know that the market seems to care,” said Ted Seifried, chief agricultural market strategist with Zaner Group.

Ahead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly crop progress report due later on Monday, analysts surveyed by Reuters forecast on average that the government would rate 60 percent of the winter wheat crop in good to excellent condition, unchanged from the previous week.

A year ago, the USDA rated just 31 percent of the crop as good to excellent. Analysts also expected the USDA to show that farmers were able to plant 7 percent of their intended corn acres and 2 percent of their soybeans by Sunday.

Analysts pegged the respective five-year averages at 12 percent for corn and 2 percent for soybeans.

In Ukraine, farmers have so far sown 2.1 million hectares of spring grain crops for the 2019 harvest, or 93% of the expected area, the agriculture ministry said.

“The grains are generally weaker on what is perceived to be favorable growing conditions for the world’s crops amid feed demand destruction in China,” INTL FCStone chief commodities economist Arlan Suderman said in a client note.

Traders were monitoring the spread of African swine fever in China, home to the world’s largest hog herd.

The disease, which is fatal to pigs but harmless in humans, has spread to every province on the Chinese mainland since its initial detection in August 2018.

China detected new cases of the disease in Hainan province, the agriculture ministry said on Sunday.

Authorities previously said they hoped the disease would not spread to Hainan, an island located off China’s southern coast.

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