U.S. grains: Soybeans plumb new lows

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade May soybean futures fell to their lowest level in a year on Tuesday, pressured by expectations for record-large U.S. plantings and a massive South American harvest, analysts said.

Corn futures fell one per cent on profit-taking a day after reaching a three-week top, while wheat ended narrowly mixed.

CBOT May soybeans settled down 1/2 cent at $9.37-3/4 per bushel after dipping to $9.36-1/2, the contract’s lowest since April 8, 2016 (all figures US$). New-crop November soybeans hit a 5-1/2-month low of $9.48-1/2.

CBOT May corn fell 4-3/4 cents to $3.63 a bushel and CBOT May wheat ended down 3/4 cent at $4.27 a bushel.

Front-month May soybeans slipped below Monday’s multimonth low of $9.37-1/4, but traders appeared reluctant to press the market much farther.

“We have got an awful lot of negative news already dialed into the market,” said Don Roose, president of Iowa-based U.S. Commodities.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture last week forecast record-large U.S. soy plantings near 89.5 million acres, topping analyst expectations. And futures remained under pressure from the ongoing harvest of an expected record-large crop in Brazil.

Consultancy Celeres raised its estimate of Brazil’s soybean crop to 113.8 million tonnes from 109.65 million last month. And broker INTL FCStone raised its projection for the Brazilian crop to 111.6 million tonnes, from 109.07 million previously.

“South Americans are churning out record volumes of soybeans,” said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank. “There is no shortfall of supplies unless we see a major weather event.”

Corn futures fell on profit-taking and as planting prospects improved after rains in parts of the Midwest and the Mississippi River Delta.

“That (planting) window looks like it opens up as we get to the last half of April. We don’t see any issues on planting,” Roose said.

CBOT soft red winter wheat futures closed nearly unchanged but lost ground to K.C. hard red winter wheat on inter-market spreads. USDA on Monday rated 51 per cent of the U.S. winter wheat crop as good to excellent, compared with 59 per cent a year earlier.

“There are still some problems out there for the hard red winter wheat crop. That’s given a boost to K.C. futures,” said Terry Reilly, analyst with Futures International.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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