Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

U.S. grains: Wheat up, corn and soy down awaiting USDA data

Good South American weather anchors corn, soy

cbot march corn
CBOT March 2020 corn with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages. (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat futures jumped on Thursday in a rebound from the market’s recent slide and soybeans and corn eased as investors squared positions ahead of an eagerly awaited U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) supply-and-demand report due on Friday.

Rising global prices and forecasts for reduced U.S. plantings this season gave wheat a further lift, while soybeans and corn faced headwinds from crop-boosting rains in rival exporting nations in South America.

Grain markets are looking ahead to Friday’s USDA reports, scheduled for release at 11 a.m. CT, which are expected to show smaller U.S. corn and soy harvests in 2019, smaller grain stocks and lower winter wheat seedings in the United States.

“It’s the day before the report and traders are just jockeying, basically sizing up positions,” said Craig Turner, commodities broker at Daniels Trading. “The wheat rally is a bit surprising, which tells me it’s a cash market thing.”

Top wheat importer Egypt bought 300,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia, Ukraine and Romania in a snap tender on Wednesday at prices about $7 per tonne above its previous purchase a month earlier (all figures US$).

Chicago Board of Trade March wheat ended up 9-1/2 cents at $5.62-1/4 a bushel. March soybeans were down 3-3/4 cents at $9.43-1/2 a bushel and March corn dropped one cent to $3.83-1/4 a bushel.

Most crop areas in Argentina and Brazil are in good shape and Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul is expected to receive some rain in the coming days, according to meteorologist Kyle Tapley with Maxar, raising prospects for large crops.

Brazilian consultancy Agroconsult boosted its soy crop estimate on Thursday to a record-setting 124.3 million tonnes but trimmed its corn crop view.

Grain traders are also waiting for more details on the Phase 1 U.S.-China trade deal due to be signed next week, which calls for bigger Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural goods.

Soybean demand in China, by far the world’s biggest soybean buyer, is expected to recover this year from the damage caused by African swine fever in 2019.

Brazil could lose some gains it made in the global market during the U.S.-China trade war in the event the two countries close a deal ending the dispute, a Brazilian agriculture ministry official said on Wednesday.

— Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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