U.S. grains: Wheat lower on hefty global stocks

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat futures dipped to a one-week low on Monday as swelling harvest supplies in the Black Sea export region hung over a subdued market a day ahead of closely watched U.S. government crop forecasts.

Soybean futures also declined, while corn edged higher in choppy trade.

Chicago Board of Trade December wheat settled down three cents at $4.34-3/4 per bushel after dipping to $4.31-1/2, its lowest since Aug. 31 (all figures US$).

CBOT November soybeans ended down two cents at $9.60 a bushel while December corn rose 3/4 cent at $3.57-1/2 a bushel.

Wheat slipped as traders braced for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s monthly supply/demand reports on Tuesday.

Despite a drop in U.S. wheat production this year, a record Russian harvest and a large crop in Ukraine are expected to keep international markets well supplied.

“Wheat has been under modest pressure today on ideas that USDA will likely increase Black Sea production in tomorrow’s report, although its capacity to export what it produces is limited, so the global market shouldn’t be immediately impacted,” Arlan Suderman, INTL FCStone chief commodities economist, wrote in a note to clients.

CBOT wheat fell despite a smaller wheat forecast from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences. The Australian government lowered its estimate of the country’s 2017-18 wheat crop to 21.64 million tonnes, an eight-year low, from a March forecast of 23.98 million.

CBOT soybeans and corn futures were little changed as traders adjusted positions ahead of USDA’s reports. Analysts expect the government to trim its U.S. 2017 yield estimates for corn and soybeans.

CBOT soybeans ended lower but drew underlying support on Monday from fresh U.S. soy export sales and forecasts for mostly dry weather this week as the Midwest crop matures.

USDA through its daily reporting system said private exporters sold 352,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to unknown destinations.

CBOT corn ended higher after a choppy session. But pressure from the start of the U.S. harvest limited rallies.

After the CBOT close, USDA in a weekly report said the U.S. corn harvest was five per cent harvested, near the five-year average of 6 percent and ahead of the average trade estimate of four per cent. But crop maturity lagged in key states.

In Iowa, the top U.S. corn producer, USDA said 15 per cent of the crop was mature, below the five-year average of 28 per cent. The corn crop in the No. 2 producer, Illinois, was 26 per cent mature, compared to the five-year average of 41 per cent.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in Paris.

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