U.S. grains: Wheat and soy climb, corn sags after USDA data

U.S. dollar's retreat also supportive

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat futures rose more than one per cent on Tuesday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture in a monthly report lowered its forecast of global wheat inventories, analysts said.

Corn futures declined on a surprise increase in USDA’s forecast of world corn stocks, while soybean futures firmed after a choppy session, underpinned by tight U.S. supplies of the oilseed.

Chicago Board of Trade May wheat settled up 10 cents at $6.56-1/2 per bushel, although the contract stayed inside of Monday’s trading range (all figures US$).

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CBOT May corn ended down 1-1/4 cents at $5.45-3/4 a bushel, while May soybeans finished 6-1/4 cents higher at $14.40 a bushel.

USDA in its monthly supply/demand report cut its forecast of the amount of wheat left over globally at the end of the 2020-21 marketing year to 301.19 million tonnes, from 304.22 million tonnes in February, citing China’s demand for feed wheat. The figure was below the lowest in a range of analyst expectations.

“The world wheat numbers were slightly friendly,” said Charlie Sernatinger, analyst with ED+F Man Capital.

CBOT wheat also drew support as the dollar backed down from a 3-1/2-year high. A weaker currency in theory makes U.S. grains more competitive globally.

Corn futures sagged after USDA raised its projection for global corn ending stocks to 287.67 million tonnes, from 286.53 million last month, at a time when analysts were expecting a cut.

“When you look at global numbers, the corn number going higher is not what the trade wanted to see,” said Ted Seifried, chief ag market strategist at Zaner Group.

On the domestic front, USDA left its forecast of U.S. corn ending stocks at 1.502 billion bushels, unchanged from February, while most analysts were expecting a reduction.

CBOT soybean futures fell initially after the report, due in part to USDA’s raising its forecast of Brazil’s 2019-20 and 2020-21 soybean harvests. But the market rallied as traders considered already tight U.S. soy stocks and dwindling global vegetable oil supplies.

“For the soybeans, we’re still at a paper-thin margin, as far as what we have left between now and the end of the marketing year,” Seifried said.

— Reporting for Reuters by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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