U.S. grains: Wheat at one-week low on wetter U.S. outlooks

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat futures fell on Friday to a one-week low, pressured by forecasts for much-needed rain late next week in the southern Plains winter wheat belt, analysts said.

Corn followed wheat lower amid a lack of fresh supportive news, and soybeans turned down, erasing early advances, as nervous traders booked profits ahead of the weekend.

Chicago Board of Trade May wheat settled down 8-1/2 cents at $4.72-1/2 per bushel, after dipping to $4.69-1/2, its lowest since April 6 (all figures US$). May corn ended down 2-1/2 cents at $3.86-1/4 a bushel and May soybeans fell 6-1/2 cents at $10.54-1/4 a bushel.

Wheat slid for a third straight session as traders assessed prospects for showers late next week in the southern Plains, where the region’s hard red winter wheat is developing amid drought conditions.

Updated forecast models shifted the track of a storm expected next Friday slightly to the north, the Commodity Weather Group said in a client note, but it could still generate beneficial moisture.

“The story is, you’ve got some moisture coming in. It’s not going to break the drought, but it doesn’t take a lot of water to get a crop. And export sales were not good,” said Alan Brugler, president of Nebraska-based Brugler Marketing.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Thursday reported export sales for old- and new-crop U.S. wheat in the latest week at 188,700 tonnes, below trade expectations.

This came after USDA on Tuesday raised its outlook for world wheat stocks to an all-time high.

Soybeans turned lower on profit-taking after the spot May contract touched $10.67-1/4, its highest in a month, buoyed by demand from exporters and domestic crushers and worries about the drought-hit Argentine soy harvest.

“I think it’s just profit-taking. The fundamental stories are still fairly bullish, with the shrinking South American crop,” Brugler said.

Argentina, the world’s No. 3 soybean producer, has struggled with a drought that has slashed its crop. However, yield prospects are bright in neighbouring Paraguay and Brazil.

Paraguay will produce just over 10 million tonnes of soybeans in 2017-18, slightly less than a year earlier, the national export chamber CAPECO said on Thursday.

“These yields will go a long way in offsetting the losses that are being reported in Argentina,” Karl Setzer, analyst with Iowa-based MaxYield Cooperative, said in a note to clients.

For the week, CBOT May soybeans rose 20-1/2 cents per bushel, or about two per cent. May corn fell 2-1/4 cents or 0.6 per cent, and CBOT May wheat was nearly unchanged, ending the week up 1/4 cent from its close on April 6.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Colin Packham in Sydney.

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