U.S. grains: Wheat, corn, soy fall to fresh 2017 lows

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat, corn and soybean futures fell to their lowest this year on Monday, pressured by abundant global grain and oilseed supplies and outlooks for crop-friendly rain in the southern Plains wheat belt, traders said.

Wheat futures led the way down. K.C. hard red winter wheat futures, which reflect the variety grown in the top producing state of Kansas, eased 1.8 per cent. Soybean futures fell to the lowest since October and corn fell for a sixth straight session.

“The path of least resistance is lower,” said EFG Group analyst Tom Fritz. “One of the functions of lower prices is to discover new demand, and we haven’t found any.”

Chicago Board of Trade May wheat futures finished four cents lower at $4.20-3/4 per bushel while K.C. May wheat was off 6-3/4 cents to $4.21-1/4 (all figures US$).

Rainfall during the next 10 days will boost wheat growth in the Plains and southwest portion of the Midwest, Commodity Weather Group said in a note to clients.

Analysts polled by Reuters expected the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday to show stockpiles of U.S. wheat, corn and soybeans as of March 1 larger than at the same point in 2016.

The analysts also predicted U.S. soybean plantings at 88.214 million acres, up nearly five million from 2016. Corn seedings were forecast at 90.969 million acres, down about three million.

“History tells us when we have carry outs (of existing crop supplies) this large we stay depressed until we get a crop scare,” Fritz added.

CBOT May soybean futures were down 4-1/4 cents to $9.71-1/2 per bushel.

CBOT May corn futures were off 1/2 cent to $3.55-3/4 per bushel, the lowest since Dec. 30.

Losses in corn were capped as some traders took profits on earlier short positions. U.S. Commodity Futures Trade Commission data released on Friday showed speculative investors expanded their net short in corn to the biggest in months.

“(The CFTC report) showed the spec funds as continued aggressive sellers of corn,” INTL FCStone said in a note to clients.

Bumper soybean and corn harvests in South America continued to drag on prices.

The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange last week raised its outlook for Argentina’s 2016-17 soy crop to 56.5 million tonnes from 54.8 million, the latest in a series of upgrades for harvests in South America.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris and Colin Packham in Sydney.

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