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U.S. grains: Wheat extends drop to fresh contract lows

Soybeans firm on short-covering, export demand

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat futures sank to contract lows on Tuesday, weighed down by abundant global supplies and technical selling as prices extended a fall that started in early July.

Chicago Board of Trade corn futures weakened slightly to the lowest levels in about a year, following the declines in wheat, while soybean prices were narrowly higher on a short-covering bounce.

Traders were tracking the annual Farm Journal Midwest Crop Tour, which found below-average corn yield potential in Indiana and above-average in Nebraska while soybean pod counts were average to below-average in the states.

Rainfall in the Midwest was expected to benefit both corn and soybean fields and crop-friendly weather in recent weeks continued to anchor prices.

Wheat futures notched the largest moves of each of the commodities. Benchmark CBOT December wheat finished eight cents lower at $4.29 bushel, a decline of 1.7 per cent (all figures US$). Wheat on a continuous chart hit the lowest level since April 25.

MGEX September spring wheat eased two per cent or 14 cents to $6.41 per bushel.

U.S. Department of Agriculture data released late on Monday showed the U.S. spring wheat harvest at 58 per cent complete, above the five-year average pace of 51 per cent.

“There’s not enough reason for wheat to rally,” said MaxYield Cooperative analyst Karl Setzer, adding that higher wheat prices earlier this year due to drought in the northern Plains was likely to boost spring wheat plantings next year.

A record grain harvest in Russia was expected to test infrastructure to export wheat and extend its shipping season, traders told Reuters.

Meanwhile, officials in top world wheat importer Egypt were looking to reject a cargo of Romanian wheat due to the presence of poppy seeds.

CBOT December corn settled three cents lower at its session low of $3.60 per bushel. That is the contract’s lowest level since its lifetime low of $3.58-1/2 reached on Aug. 31, 2016.

“Corn is being whipsawed,” Setzer said. “It’s stuck between the sharply lower wheat complex and a little bit of strength in soybeans.”

CBOT November soybeans climbed 1-1/4 cents to $9.37 per bushel. Soy prices have gained modestly in four of the past five sessions, underpinned by recent purchases of U.S. soy supplies by top global buyer China.

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

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