U.S. grains: Corn, soy, wheat fall on profit-taking but post weekly gains

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures dropped on Friday as uncertainty about the timing and details of a potential trade deal with China caused investors to lock in some profits from recent gains, traders said.

End-of-week profit-taking also weighed on the corn and wheat markets. The drop in corn futures was kept in check by expectations that U.S. growers will face planting delays this spring and may be forced to switch some of their intended corn acreage to soybeans.

Weather forecasters were predicting that a storm, bringing rain and maybe even snow in some places, will hit the U.S. Midwest on Wednesday and Thursday.

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“It would not do any outright damage, but they don’t need the moisture and they certainly don’t need to worry about melting more snow,” Commodity Weather Group agricultural meteorologist David Streit said. “It’s just going to keep setting back the field work opportunities, which already has the markets nervous.”

Chicago Board of Trade May corn futures closed down 2-3/4 cents at $3.62-1/2 a bushel. Corn futures were up 1.5 per cent this week.

CBOT May soybean futures were 7-1/2 cents lower at $8.99 a bushel but notched a weekly gain of 1.6 percent.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday would not predict that a trade deal with China will be reached, even though talks are moving along very well with China. On Thursday, Trump had said that a deal could be announced within four weeks.

“Ag traders reacted negatively to President Trump’s assertion that we may need to wait another four weeks for a trade agreement with China,” Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist at INTL FCStone, said in a note to clients. “They hoped to hear something this week.”

White House adviser Larry Kudlow said U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators will continue their talks next week by video conference.

CBOT May soft red winter wheat futures dropped three cents to $4.67-3/4 a bushel. Wheat gained 2.2 per cent this week.

Attention in grain markets was also turning toward next Tuesday’s monthly supply and demand outlook from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago; additional reporting by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago, Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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