U.S. grains: Wheat, soybeans plunge on fund selling

Chicago July corn flat

CBOT July 2021 wheat (candlesticks) with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages (yellow, orange, green lines) and MGEX July 2021 wheat (black line). (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean and wheat futures fell more than two per cent on Wednesday, with traders noting selling by investment funds as commodity contracts tumbled through key technical support points.

The most-active corn futures ended unchanged, steadying after trading in negative territory for much of the session. Deferred contracts were slightly lower.

Wheat futures notched the biggest decline, with the most-active CBOT soft red winter wheat contract sagging 2.7 per cent to its lowest in nearly a month. Wheat faced additional pressure prospects for big harvests in the U.S.

Sharp declines in the crude oil market sparked a round of risk-off trading by speculators who had built up bullish bets in agricultural commodities in the past few months due to concerns about supply shortages.

“Energy is getting dumped on pretty hard today,” said Mark Schultz, chief market analyst at Northstar Commodity. “Everybody is nervous about what is going on. We are in liquidation. If we don’t recover, we will have some margin calls.”

Chicago Board of Trade July soft red winter wheat futures ended down 18-3/4 cents at $6.79-1/4 a bushel, bottoming out at its lowest since April 21 (all figures US$).

Crop scouts on the first day of the Wheat Quality Council’s annual tour of Kansas projected an average yield for hard red winter wheat in the northern part of the state at 59.2 bushels per acre, up from 46.9 bushels in 2019.

CBOT July corn was flat at $6.58-1/4 a bushel, with the market shrugging off another purchase of 1.36 million tonnes of the yellow grain by China.

Strength in the cash market underpinned corn futures.

The U.S. Agriculture Department’s announcement of the sale was the fifth day in a row it has reported a deal with China.

CBOT July soybeans were down 36 cents at $15.38-1/4 a bushel.

— Reporting for Reuters by Mark Weinraub in Chicago; additional reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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