U.S. grains: Soy and grains post annual declines

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures fell on Thursday as traders eyed forecasts for much-needed rains in Brazil, while corn and wheat ended narrowly mixed in light year-end trading.

All three commodities posted annual declines for 2015. Markets will be closed on Friday for the New Year’s Day holiday.

“Going into the weekend with an improved South American weather forecast, that has put some pressure on the bean complex, which is acting as an anchor on the corn and wheat,” said Jim Sullivan, an analyst with the Leese Trading Group in Chicago.

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Weekly export sales data for soybeans added pressure. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported sales of U.S. soybeans in the week to Dec. 24 at 478,800 tonnes, below a range of trade estimates and a marketing year low.

At the Chicago Board of Trade, March soybeans settled down six cents at $8.64-1/4 per bushel.

March wheat ended up 1/4 cent at $4.70 a bushel and March corn finished down 1/4 cent at $3.58-3/4 a bushel.

Grains and soy recorded yearly declines amid a backdrop of plentiful world stocks and a strong U.S. dollar. CBOT wheat fell 20.3 per cent, its second-largest annual drop since 2008.

“The market is focused on the ample supply of wheat globally,” said Hannah Johnson, chief analyst at Profarmer Australia, in a note to clients.

Corn and soybeans each declined for a third straight year, with corn down 9.6 per cent and soybeans down 14.5 per cent.

Traders continued to monitor high water on the mid-Mississippi River, a key artery for moving Corn Belt grain and soy to export terminals at the U.S. Gulf. The flooding has stalled barge movement as portions of the river are closed to traffic.

Forecasts called for drier weather in the Midwest, but the National Weather Service warned that floodwaters will move downstream over the next couple of weeks, raising flood risks along the lower Mississippi.

Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Colin Packham in Sydney and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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