U.S. grains: Soy falls to six-week low on crop prospects

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Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures fell nearly two per cent on Tuesday, with the benchmark November contract on the Chicago Board of Trade hitting a six-week low on expectations of a bumper U.S. harvest and uncertainty about demand, analysts said.

Corn futures followed soybeans lower while CBOT wheat steadied after a six-session slide pushed the December contract to its lowest level in nearly six weeks.

CBOT November soy settled down 15 cents at $8.33-1/4 per bushel after dipping to $8.33, its weakest level since hitting a contract low on July 16 at $8.26-1/4 (all figures US$).

CBOT December corn ended down 5-1/4 cents at $3.56-1/4 a bushel while December soft red winter wheat finished up 3/4 cent at $5.23-1/4.

Soy futures tumbled on outlooks for rising U.S. supplies at a time when ongoing trade disputes with top buyer China have clouded export prospects. The Pro Farmer advisory service last week projected 2018 U.S. soybean production at a record 4.683 billion bushels, topping the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s forecast for 4.586 billion.

Pro Farmer also projected a U.S. corn yield of 177.3 bushels per acre, below the USDA’s forecast of 178.4 but still a record high, if realized.

“The market is still trading off the large production prospects,” said Terry Reilly, senior analyst with Futures International in Chicago.

“We need the major importers, other than China, to continue to buy U.S. beans. We have not seen the surge in the European business that maybe people were looking for,” Reilly said.

Others cited worries that outbreaks of African swine fever in China’s hog herd could curb demand for soymeal, a key ingredient in hog feed.

Also, Brazilian farmers will begin planting soybeans in a few weeks, and analysts expect an expansion in acres that could boost global supplies.

CBOT wheat futures firmed in what appeared to be a short-covering bounce after the December contract dipped below its 200-day moving average and hit $5.18-1/2 per bushel, its lowest level since July 19.

The market drew support from news that Russian consultancy IKAR lowered its estimate of Russia’s 2018 wheat harvest to 69.6 million tonnes, from 70.8 million previously. The firm left its Russian wheat export estimate unchanged at 32.5 million tonnes.

Meanwhile, reacting to the recent fall in prices, Egypt’s main state wheat buyer purchased 350,000 tonnes of wheat in an international tender, including 290,000 tonnes of Russian origin and 60,000 tonnes of Ukrainian wheat.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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