Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat futures steadied on Wednesday, with the markets waiting for a good assessment of the crop damage caused by a snowstorm in Kansas over the weekend, traders said.
Corn and soybeans rose but remained below levels hit earlier this week, supported by concerns that heavy rains in the Midwest and southern growing areas will force some farmers to re-plant recently seeded crops.
“Weather remains the big story in the ag markets,” Farm Futures senior analyst Bryce Knorr said in a note to clients.
The weekend snowstorm sparked a sharp rally in wheat prices, which surged to their highest since early March.
Yield prospects for hard red winter wheat in western Kansas were uncertain after a major weekend storm buried some fields under heavy snow, scouts on an annual crop tour said on Wednesday. Much of the wheat was flattened in the fields hit hardest by snow, and some stalks snapped or bent under the weight, according to scouts on the Wheat Quality Council tour.
Technical buying lent support to all three commodities on Wednesday after prices held at key chart points despite early weakness.
Chicago Board of Trade July soft red winter wheat futures settled unchanged at $4.54 a bushel (all figures US$). K.C. hard red winter wheat for July delivery dropped 4-1/2 cents to $4.63-1/4 a bushel.
CBOT July wheat found technical support at its 50-day moving average.
Agronomists said it was still too early to determine the extent of any damage from heavy snow falls in parts of Kansas, something that could take two weeks.
“The market is awaiting to see the extent of damage for the U.S. hard red winter wheat, but the assessment will take time,” said one agricultural commodities analyst.
CBOT July corn futures were 2-1/2 cents higher at $3.74-3/4 a bushel, and CBOT July soybeans were up 6-1/2 cents at $9.75-1/4.
Soybean futures found technical support at their 30-day moving average while corn buyers stepped in when the July contract briefly dipped below its 40-day moving average.
— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.