U.S. grains: Soy, corn ease from six-week highs

Chicago | Reuters — U.S soybeans and corn futures fell on Wednesday, pressured by profit-taking after recent six-week highs and outlooks for needed rains in South America.

Wheat settled narrowly higher at the Chicago Board of Trade after a more than one per cent drop in the dollar against a basket of currencies made U.S. supplies more attractive in global markets.

Overall ample world wheat supplies limited gains as wheat futures traded within the range established on Tuesday. Traders reacted cautiously to news that top importer Egypt would again allow traces of a grain fungus in a latest twist in a standoff with traders over import rules.

CBOT March soybeans finished 9-1/2 cents, or one per cent, lower at $8.76-3/4 per bushel, after reaching $8.89-1/2 on Tuesday, its highest since Dec. 22 (all figures US$). Corn for March delivery ended 1-1/2 cents lower to $3.71.

“Corn and soybeans can’t rally, I don’t understand it,” said Mark Gold, analyst at Top Third Ag Marketing. “We’ve had some good technical selling in the corn and the beans over the last couple of days, now the beans break 8 cents here today with the dollar down and the crude up.”

Some traders speculated the approaching week-long Chinese Lunar New Year holiday could signal lower soy imports from the top global oilseed buyer.

The traders also were waiting to see rainfall totals in Argentina, with showers beneficial to developing corn and soybean plants forecast to fall on Friday to Monday, the Commodity Weather Group said in a note to clients.

Informa Economics at midday boosted its outlook for Argentine corn and soy production while the U.S. Department of Agriculture will release monthly supply and demand forecasts on Tuesday.

“Both Argentine and Brazilian exporters have the incentive to keep moving it,” said Terry Roggensack, analyst with the Hightower Report. “The Argentina old-crop supply of beans is moving as fast as it can onto the crushing industry, or out on to the world market. They are trying to get done before Brazil gets fully loaded up on their harvest.”

“(U.S.) exports are slow and competition is going up, and Brazil is staring at a record crop,” Roggensack added.

March wheat finished up 4-3/4 cents at $4.80 per bushel, notching the day’s highs in the final minutes of the session but still trading below Tuesday’s high of $4.83.

Justin Madden and Michael Hirtzer report on ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago, Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in Paris.

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