U.S. grains: Corn futures break losing streak

CBOT December 2019 corn with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages. (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn futures steadied near a three-month low on Thursday as traders said the market was oversold following sharp declines stemming from a bearish U.S. Agriculture Department harvest forecast issued on Monday.

Soybean futures traded higher overnight but turned lower after a weak export sales report. Soy futures settled near session lows. Demand concerns, highlighted by poor exports of old-crop supplies, also limited corn buying.

Wheat futures were mixed, with Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat and MGEX spring wheat easing amid plentiful supplies while K.C. hard red winter wheat firmed on bargain buying after hitting contract lows.

Forecasts for good weather for crop development across much of the U.S. Midwest during the next few weeks cast a bearish tone across the grains markets.

“The rebounds are perpetually shaky at this point, especially given what look to be excellent rains on tap, adequate USDA August production numbers, and a demand side in shambles for both corn and soybeans,” Matt Zeller, director of market information at INTL FCStone, said in a note to clients.

Chicago Board of Trade December corn futures ended 3/4 cent higher at $3.71 a bushel, its first close in positive territory since Aug. 8 (all figures US$). CBOT November soybeans were 7-1/4 cents lower at $8.70-3/4 a bushel.

Traders shrugged off a big soy crush figure that came as many plants resumed operations after being forced to shut down due to flooding earlier in the summer.

The U.S. soybean crush in July topped most trade estimates and surged from a 21-month low in June to the sixth-highest for any month on record, according to National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) data released on Thursday. NOPA members, which handle about 95 per cent of all soybeans processed in the U.S., crushed 168.093 million bushels of soybeans in July, the highest-ever for the month.

CBOT September soft red winter wheat was down 4-3/4 cents at $4.69 a bushel.

USDA on Thursday morning reported export sales of old-crop U.S. corn in the week ended Aug. 8 below trade expectations at 56,200 tonnes and new-crop sales within expectations at 307,600 tonnes.

The government said weekly net export sales of soybeans added up to cancellations of 109,800 tonnes for the current marketing year. New-crop soybean export sales totaled a better-than-expected 817,400 tonnes.

Export sales of U.S. wheat were 462,200 tonnes, near the high end of a range of trade expectations.

Reporting for Reuters by Mark Weinraub; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Nigel Hunt in London.

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