U.S. grains: Wheat falls on profit-taking after two-week high

Chicago | Reuters –– Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures fell on Wednesday after a seesaw session, pulled down by profit-taking from a two-week peak and as the hard red winter wheat harvest expanded in the U.S. southern Plains, traders said.

Corn and soybeans also declined, reversing midsession gains as producers sold old-crop supplies. But uncertainty about the impact of excessive rains in parts of the Midwest underpinned values.

At the CBOT, July wheat settled down 3-1/2 cents at $5.18 per bushel (all figures US$). July corn ended off one cent at $3.66-1/2 a bushel and July soybeans fell 5-3/4 cents at $9.81-3/4 a bushel.

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Wheat retreated after the CBOT July contract reached $5.30, its highest since June 10, but fell short of its 200-day moving average at $5.33.

Dry weather in the southern U.S. Plains this week should promote the harvest of hard red winter wheat, the largest U.S. wheat class that is used in bread. But wet conditions in the southern Midwest are stalling the harvest of soft red winter wheat used for cookies and snack foods.

Storms were crossing parts of Iowa and central Illinois on Wednesday, and more precipitation was on the way.

“Tomorrow is the wetter day … when the rains will increase across the central Midwest, (producing) generally 1.5 inches or so,” said Don Keeney, a meteorologist at MDA Weather Services. “It is not good news for the bean planting and wheat harvest.”

Including rain forecasts for the rest of the month, much of eastern Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and western Ohio will receive double their normal rainfall for June, MDA Weather Services said in a note to clients.

The rains helped lift corn and soybean prices for part of the session as traders considered whether U.S. yield prospects were being reduced.

But hedge-related selling depressed prices by the closing bell.

“Farmer selling continues to cap the rallies, not only in the United States but in South America,” said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Traders continued to adjust positions ahead of two key U.S. government crop reports on U.S. acreage and quarterly stocks due June 30.

Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Colin Packham in Sydney and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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