U.S. grains: Soy nears six-month low as USDA lifts stocks outlook

(Lisa Guenther photo)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures fell on Thursday to their lowest levels in nearly six months after the government lifted its outlook for global inventories slightly to a new record high.

Concerns about slowing global demand added pressure to soybean prices, traders said. Corn and wheat prices also sagged.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s monthly crop report pegged world soybean stocks at 89.55 million tonnes, up from last month’s estimate of 89.53 million. Analysts surveyed by Reuters had expected the estimate to be unchanged.

World supplies are projected to climb from 66.32 million tonnes last year following massive autumn harvests in the U.S. and as large crops are coming in from fields in South America. Also, U.S. farmers are projected to plant a record number of acres with soybeans this spring, according to USDA.

“There are still too many beans in the world,” said Tomm Pfitzenmaier, analyst for Summit Commodity Brokerage in Iowa.

Chicago Board Of Trade May soybeans closed down 18 cents to $9.53-1/2 a bushel after sinking to $9.50-1/4, the lowest price for a front-month contract since Oct. 21 (all figures US$). May wheat dropped 7-1/2 cents to $5.18-3/4 a bushel after touching a one-week low of $5.13-3/4. May corn eased 1-1/4 cents to $3.78 a bushel after setting a one-week low of $3.75.

Traders focused on the outlook for big world grain supplies rather than on U.S. ending stocks. USDA cut its domestic soy inventories estimate to 370 million bushels from 385 million last month, matching analysts’ expectations.

The government increased its estimates for U.S. corn ending stocks to 1.827 billion bushels from 1.777 billion last month and for world stocks to 188.46 million tonnes from 185.28 million.

U.S. wheat stocks declined to 684 million bushels from 691 million last month and world wheat inventories dipped to 197.21 million tonnes from 197.71 million.

“The report, in my opinion, it just confirms we have large global stocks,” said Terry Reilly, senior commodity analyst for brokerage Futures International in Chicago.

Earlier on Thursday, USDA reported net cancellations of U.S. soybean sales last week totaled 176,700 tonnes for 2014-15, which was a “slight shock,” said Karl Setzer, risk management team leader for MaxYield Cooperative. Net sales for 2015-16 totaled 502,400 tonnes.

Tom Polansek reports on agriculture and ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in Paris.

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