U.S. grains: CBOT soybeans, corn fall

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures dropped 1.6 per cent on Friday to their lowest level in more than five months on pressure from rising forecasts for already-robust South American harvests, traders said.

Corn futures also weakened, hitting their lowest level since Jan. 13.

Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat rose on bargain buying following four straight days of declines.

All three commodities posted weekly losses. Wheat and soybean futures have fallen for three weeks in a row, the longest string of weekly losses for wheat since a four-week stretch that ended in early July 2016.

Weakness in the cash market and rising expectations for U.S. soy plantings this spring added pressure to soybeans.

Soybean spot basis bids fell by five cents per bushel at a closely watched processor in Decatur, Illinois (all figures US$). Cash bids for both corn and soybeans were steady to lower at other processors and elevators around the U.S. Midwest.

Chicago Board of Trade May soybean futures settled down 15-1/4 cents at $9.75-3/4 a bushel. The most-active contract, which bottomed out at its lowest level since Oct. 19, fell 2.5 per cent this week.

“Brazilian farmer selling of harvested beans heavy, and yields reported as better than expected,” Don Phelan of CHS Hedging said in a note to clients.

The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange on Thursday afternoon raised its outlook for Argentina’s 2016-17 soy crop to 56.5 million tonnes from 54.8 million previously, the latest of a series of upgrades to forecasts for harvests in South America.

The prospect of huge South American soybean crops arriving on export markets took the shine off higher-than-expected weekly U.S. export sales reported on Thursday.

“Investors are thinking: how much longer can that last? Big South American crops are now arriving onto the market,” said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

CBOT May corn ended 1/2 cent lower at $3.56-1/4 a bushel, with declines limited by some end-of-week short-covering. Corn futures fell 3.2 percent this week.

CBOT May wheat futures were up 3-3/4 cents at $4.24-3/4 a bushel. CBOT wheat shed 2.4 per cent this week.

Rain forecasts pointed to significant moisture relief next week in the six to 10 days ahead for all but the far southwest of the U.S. Plains, Commodity Weather Group said in a daily update.

Rain had already begun to fall in Kansas, the largest hard red winter wheat-producing state, on Friday morning, a grain dealer there said.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Colin Packham in Sydney and Gus Trompiz in Paris.

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