U.S. grains: Wheat down on profit-taking

Corn pares gains off seven-year high

CBOT March 2021 wheat with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages. (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat futures fell about one per cent on Wednesday on profit-taking as the dollar firmed and Wall Street equity markets sagged, analysts said.

But worries about tightening global inventories underpinned the grains, keeping wheat, corn and soybean futures near multi-year highs set this month.

Chicago Board of Trade March wheat settled down seven cents at $6.58-1/4 per bushel (all figures US$).

CBOT March corn ended up 1-3/4 cents at $5.34 a bushel, paring gains after reaching $5.43-3/4, the highest price in a continuous chart of the most-active contract since June 2013. March soybeans settled up 4-1/2 cents at $13.74-3/4 a bushel.

Wheat futures eased after climbing in recent days on news of export curbs in Russia, the world’s top supplier of the grain. Officials in Argentina, another exporter, are also considering how to ensure adequate domestic supplies.

An upturn in the dollar weighed on futures, making U.S. grain less competitive on the world market, and Wall Street’s dip further dampened sentiment.

“The outside commodity markets are keeping a lid on the bullish undertone for the entire agriculture space,” said Terry Reilly, senior analyst with Futures International in Chicago.

“We saw some of these longs exit the market,” Reilly said, adding, “Global export developments in the wheat market were pretty slow in the last couple days, as all the focus has been on beans and corn.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed private sales of 680,000 tonnes of U.S. corn to China, following sales of 1.36 million tonnes to China announced a day earlier.

USDA also confirmed sales of 132,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China and another 126,500 tonnes of soybeans to unknown destinations.

Huge Chinese demand for grains has eroded available supply in the U.S. and other grain exporters such as Ukraine, making the market nervous about any potential harvest setbacks in South America.

“The near-term underlying bullish sentiment is still very much in place. We still have two to three months at least before we have confirmation that the new crop of global grain or oilseed will be adequate,” said Ole Houe, director of advisory services at agriculture brokerage IKON Commodities.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Mai Nguyen in Hanoi.

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