U.S. grains: Soybeans sink on plentiful stocks, trade tensions

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures were lower on Monday as early-session support from a lower-than-anticipated government forecast on spring plantings faded and the market’s focus turned to ample U.S. supplies and rising trade tensions with top importer China.

Corn futures notched a 2-1/2-week high on the U.S. Agriculture Department’s bullish acreage forecast late last week, but gave back much of the day’s gains as soybeans retreated.

USDA on Thursday forecast U.S. plantings of both corn and soybeans below trade expectations, sending futures soaring ahead of the long Easter holiday weekend. The agency also estimated quarterly U.S. stocks of both commodities at historic highs, which the market largely shrugged off.

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“After a three-day weekend and a surprisingly bullish acreage number, the stocks number for soybeans is beginning to set in,” said Ted Seifried, chief ag market strategist with Zaner Group.

“The market wants to be excited about the combination of Argentina (drought) and lower acreage, but we’re still not in a position where the balance sheet gets tight,” he said.

Chicago Board of Trade May soybeans fell 9-1/4 cents to $10.35-1/2 a bushel after touching a three-week high of $10.60-1/2 (all figures US$). September through July 2019 soybean futures all posted new contract highs before turning lower.

A sharp drop in soymeal prices added pressure.

CBOT May corn shed 1/2 cent to settle at $3.87-1/4 a bushel.

Fears of a trade war with China, a top agricultural products buyer, kept markets on edge after Beijing announced higher tariffs on a long list of U.S. goods, including pork and ethanol.

CBOT May soft red winter wheat declined 4-3/4 cents to $4.46-1/4 a bushel after hitting technical resistance at its 100-day moving average.

K.C. May hard red winter wheat gained 1/4 cent to $4.67-1/2 a bushel amid forecasts for dry weather in the southwest U.S. Plains, where the crop has suffered under a severe drought.

USDA is due to release updated crop condition ratings for wheat later on Monday.

— Karl Plume reports on agriculture and agribusiness for Reuters from Chicago.

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