Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat, corn and soybean futures fell on Friday, with forecasts for beneficial crop weather across key growing areas sparking a round of fund liquidation ahead of the weekend, trader said.
Wheat led the declines with the front-month Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat contract sagging 2.8 per cent. K.C. hard red winter wheat dropped 2.6 per cent on an outlook for some much-needed rain in drought-stressed parts of the U.S. Plains in the coming days.
Corn, soybean and spring wheat futures were pressured by warming weather that should allow farmers to pick up the pace of their delayed planting.
Corn hit its lowest since April 4 while soybeans fell to a two-week low.
“Our weather forecast is going to open up and allow us to get some fieldwork done,” said Bill Gentry, a broker at Risk Management Commodities in Lafayette, Indiana. “I think the prospects are going to improve.”
Chicago Board of Trade May soft red winter wheat futures closed down 13-1/2 cents at $4.63-1/4 a bushel (all figures US$). K.C. hard red winter wheat for May delivery was off 12-1/2 cents at $4.82-3/4 a bushel.
“Weather forecasters continue to expect a storm system through the Hard Red Winter (HRW) wheat region starting today and continuing through to Sunday,” said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
CBOT May corn futures were 5-1/2 cents lower at $3.76-1/2 a bushel. CBOT May soybeans were off 8-1/2 cents at $10.28-3/4 a bushel.
“A warming trend is finally on the way for the first time in April after one more cool five-day stretch across most major U.S. crop regions, which will hasten the planting pace in much-needed fashion,” Thomson Reuters Weather Research said.
Concerns about a trade spat with China threatening U.S. exports cast a bearish tone across the agricultural sector.
Several ships carrying cargoes of sorghum from the U.S. to China have changed course since Beijing imposed hefty anti-dumping deposits on U.S. imports of the grain, trade sources and a Reuters analysis of export and shipping data showed.
For the week, soybean futures fell 2.4 per cent, corn futures dropped 2.5 per cent and CBOT wheat was off 1.9 per cent.
— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Nigel Hunt in London.