U.S. grains: Soybeans fall to contract lows on speedy plantings

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybeans fell to contract lows while corn eased 1.7 per cent on Tuesday, pressured by faster-than-normal spring plantings and overall favourable crop conditions in the U.S.

Wheat futures tumbled two per cent at the Chicago Board of Trade, with all three markets reversing from gains in the previous session as the dollar jumped to a two-week high against a basket of currencies.

CBOT November soybeans fell to $9.22-1/4 per bushel, a lifetime low for the contract that tracks the U.S. autumn harvest (all figures US$). Front-month July soybeans settled 8-1/4 cents lower at $9.46-1/4 per bushel, the lowest level since Oct. 6.

“We’ve broken out to the bottom side of this wedge formation (on the soybean price charts) — that’s downright devastating from a technical perspective,” said Craig VanDyke, analyst at brokerage Top Third Ag Marketing in Chicago.

“Soybean planting has been moving along and expectations for carryout are very large,” he added. “There’s very little reason to bid up grains right now, especially with the dollar breakout.”

The losses in soybeans came despite news from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that top importer China purchased 132,000 tonnes of U.S. beans for delivery in the current marketing season.

USDA in a separate report after the close of trading on Monday said U.S. soybean plantings were 45 per cent done and corn sowings 85 per cent complete, each above the five-year average.

USDA also rated the winter wheat crop 45 per cent good to excellent, up one percentage point from last week. Analysts, on average, expected steady ratings.

Worries that heavy rainfall in the southern U.S. Plains and cold temperatures in the northern Plains and Midwest could damage crops had bolstered prices on Monday, before the government data triggered investor profit-taking.

CBOT July corn finished six cents lower at $3.62 per bushel and CBOT July wheat down 11-1/2 cents to $5.10-1/4.

“Wheat is pulling back from the highs today as the market awaits more concrete indications about whether the heavy rain forecast in the U.S. Plains will actually damage the U.S. crop,” said Frank Rijkers, agrifood economist at ABN AMRO Bank.

“We are seeing some profit-taking in wheat today especially among the short-term traders.”

Michael Hirtzer reports on grain markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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