U.S. grains: Soybeans fall as Argentina crop worries ease

(Scott Bauer photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters –– U.S. soybean futures fell on Monday for a third straight session on profit-taking after last week’s six-month highs and improving weather outlook for Argentina, analysts said.

Wheat closed higher on technical buying including short-covering, while corn ended nearly unchanged as the market consolidated after hitting a multi-month top on Friday.

Chicago Board of Trade March soybean futures settled down 9-3/4 cents at $10.57-3/4 per bushel (all figures US$). March wheat ended up five cents at $4.33-1/4 a bushel while March corn fell 1/4 cent at $3.69-1/2.

Soybeans extended their slide from last week’s heights as forecasts called for better crop weather in Argentina following floods this month that threatened soybean prospects. Argentina is the world’s largest soymeal exporter and No. 3 exporter of soybeans.

“Dry weather should continue to ease wetness in central Argentina this week, while light showers in La Pampa and Buenos Aires favour crops,” MDA Weather Services said in a daily note to clients.

Also, weekly commitments data released Friday by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed large speculators sharply increased their net long position in CBOT soybeans, leaving the market vulnerable to bouts of long liquidation.

“Investors have begun to book profits as weather worries recede somewhat,” said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Wheat climbed for a second straight session, but traders said the trade was mostly technical and driven by funds covering short positions, given a lack of market-moving news.

A softer dollar lent support, in theory making U.S. grains more competitive on the world market. The dollar index fell amid investor concerns over protectionist rhetoric by U.S. President Donald Trump.

CBOT corn was little changed, with the spot March contract consolidating just below a key level of resistance. March corn matched but failed to surpass $3.70, Friday’s six-month high.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in Paris.

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