U.S. grains: Soy, corn drop as dollar rises

(Lisa Guenther photo)

Chicago | Reuters –– U.S. corn and soybean futures fell on Thursday, pressured by strength in the dollar that threatened to further chill already cool demand for U.S. exports, traders said.

“It was all about the U.S. dollar today, as the night session gapped higher on big volume off dollar-related short covering, only to see the dollar spin on its heels and rally hard during the day session, dragging futures back down,” Charlie Sernatinger, global head of grain futures at ED+F Man Capital, said in a note to clients.

Wheat futures were mixed, with Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat contracts firming on a round of short-covering by investment funds. K.C. hard red winter wheat and MGEX spring wheat fell on forecasts for rains in the U.S. Plains that will provide a much-needed boost to soil moisture.

The U.S. dollar rebounded after it plunged on Wednesday following a Federal Reserve statement that suggested a slow pace of interest rate increases.

CBOT May corn futures ended down 1-1/4 cents at $3.73-1/2 a bushel (all figures US$). Corn closed above its session lows as some bargain buyers stepped into the market after the May contract fell below its 20-day Bollinger range.

CBOT May soybeans were 3-1/4 cents lower at $9.61-3/4 a bushel.

Traders also noted some mild profit taking in both corn and soybeans, which closed near session highs on Wednesday on a round of late buying after the Fed announcement.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Thursday morning that old-crop export sales of corn came in at 502,300 tonnes in the latest week, near the low end of market forecasts for 500,000 to 700,000 tonnes.

Soybean export sales for 2014-15 shipment were 342,000 tonnes, the second lowest in two months.

CBOT May wheat settled up 1-1/4 cents at $5.12 a bushel. K.C. May hard red winter wheat shed 2-3/4 cents to $5.50-1/4 a bushel and MGEX May spring wheat dropped 5-1/4 cents, to $5.72-3/4 a bushel.

Mark Weinraub 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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