U.S. grains: Prices fall on technical selling, abundant supplies

Reuters — U.S. grain and soybean prices fell on Tuesday, weighed by technical selling and abundant global supplies.

Soybeans and wheat gave up earlier gains that were based on weather concerns for developing crops, while corn led the way down in choppy trading ahead of Friday’s Christmas holiday.

“There’s no real bullish news, so there’s no reason to buy and more reasons to sell,” said Craig VanDyke, analyst at Top Third Ag Marketing brokerage in Chicago.

Chicago Board of Trade March corn dipped 5-3/4 cents or 1.6 per cent to $3.66-1/4 a bushel (all figures US$).

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Corn losses expanded after the March contract fell below Monday’s session low of $3.69-3/4 per bushel, VanDyke said.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture raised its outlook for domestic corn supplies more than expected, due to weakening export demand.

January soybeans lost six cents or 0.6 per cent to $8.85-1/4 a bushel, giving up ground for a second straight session.

Earlier in the session, weather worries pushed soybean prices higher. But the forecast for the 11- to 15-day period in northern Brazil looked wetter through the day, MDA Weather Services wrote on Tuesday.

“The potential for some wetter weather in the 11-15 day period provides some hope that conditions may improve for corn and soybean growth in the northern growing areas of Brazil,” said MDA senior agricultural meteorologist Kyle Tapley.

Although southern Brazil still looks too wet and central and northeastern areas appear dry, earlier buying was premature, said Terry Reilly, senior commodity analyst at Futures International in Chicago.

“January and February are crucial times for weather for Brazil,” he said.

Brazil is the world’s biggest soybean exporter and second-largest corn shipper.

Soybeans were also weighed down by expectations that Argentina will liquidate stored grain and soybeans after its currency devaluation and export tax cuts. That would stiffen competition for U.S. soybeans.

“Argentinian farmers have accumulated significant inventories for inflation hedging purposes and could be incentivized to sell as President Macri promises to lower soybean export tariffs,” Goldman Sachs said in a note.

CBOT March wheat dropped 7-1/4 cents or 1.3 per cent to $4.71-3/4 a bushel.

Dealers said mild weather in both North America and Europe had left many winter wheat crops without snow cover. Crops in central Ukraine and central Russia could be particularly vulnerable with temperatures expected to fall next week.

Rod Nickel and Michael Hirtzer report for Reuters from Winnipeg and Chicago respectively. Additional reporting for Reuters by Nigel Hunt in London and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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