U.S. grains: CBOT wheat futures weaken

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures eased on Tuesday, partially retreating from a sharp rally on some profit-taking, traders said.

But K.C. hard red winter wheat futures firmed, extending their rally amid concerns that a snowstorm in the U.S. Plains during the weekend caused severe damage to the maturing crop there.

Corn weakened on pressure from a planting report showing that farmers had caught up to the typical pace of seeding. Soybean futures also closed lower, weighed down by technical selling.

CBOT soft red winter wheat futures peaked at their highest since March 6 during overnight trading but could not hold on to the gains during the daytime session after surging 5.5 per cent on Monday.

“The market has kind of stumbled after a good rally,” said Greg Grow, director of agribusiness at Archer Financial Services. “There is a lot of variation about potential production losses, so now we have to justify and see where we go price-wise.”

CBOT July soft red winter wheat settled down two cents at $4.54 a bushel (all figures US$). K.C. hard red winter wheat for July delivery ended two cents higher at $4.67-3/4 a bushel.

K.C. wheat has risen for four days in a row.

“The real question now is, how much yield damage has been suffered by U.S. wheat by the snow and frosts, while the wetter areas could face damage to yields from disease and waterlogging,” said Graydon Chong, senior commodity analyst with Rabobank.

“Because of the development stage of U.S. wheat, it would appear that some yield loss has occurred, but I do not think we have seen the full extent of the damage yet.”

CBOT July corn futures were down 5-1/4 cents at $3.72-1/4 a bushel.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Monday afternoon that U.S. farmers had sown 34 per cent of their corn crop, in line with the five-year average and more than analysts had been expecting.

CBOT July soybean futures were 1-1/2 cents lower at $9.68-3/4 a bushel. The contract hit technical resistance at its 40-day moving average, a level it has not broken through since March 6.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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