U.S. grains: CBOT soybeans extend losing streak

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures fell for a third straight session on Monday, with concerns about demand from China in focus amid a lack of fresh deals with the top global buyer of the oilseed, traders said.

Wheat futures were mixed, with Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat contracts retreating from early gains on technical selling. K.C. hard red winter wheat futures firmed as recent rains in the U.S. Plains were not expected to improve harvest prospects for the drought-stressed crop there.

Corn futures also closed higher, bouncing back from the more than two-week low hit on Friday on short-covering. A slow pace of planting in the U.S. Midwest also helped to support corn.

Chicago Board of Trade May soybean futures settled down eight cents at $10.20-3/4 a bushel (all figures US$).

“We saw another day go by without any private export business,” said Brian Hoops, senior market analyst at Midwest Market Solutions. “That is weighing on our bean prices.”

USDA has not announced any new soybean sales to China since April 10. The last deal to any destination was announced on April 11.

Some farmer selling in Brazil also weighed on soybean futures, said Terry Reilly, senior commodities analyst with Futures International.

USDA on Monday morning said that weekly soybean export inspections were 470,817 tonnes, in line with estimates that ranged from 300,000 to 600,000 tonnes.

Corn export inspections were 1.719 million tonnes, topping forecasts that ranged from 1.2 million to 1.7 million tonnes. Wheat export inspections of 619,251 tonnes also topped forecasts, which ranged from 350,000 to 550,000 tonnes.

CBOT May soft red winter wheat ended down 1-3/4 cents at $4.61-1/2 a bushel. K.C. hard red winter wheat for May delivery gained 1/2 cent to close at $4.83-1/4 a bushel.

Patchy rain over the weekend failed to deliver widespread relief to crops.

“In the end, these rains were less abundant than expected, and could somewhat support the markets,” French consultancy Agritel said.

CBOT May corn closed up two cents at $3.78-1/2 a bushel.

USDA’s weekly planting report was expected to show that farmers had seeded just seven per cent of their corn acres by April 22, well behind their typical pace for late April.

But outlooks for improving weather throughout the U.S. Midwest in the coming weeks kept a check on strength in the corn market.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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