U.S. grains: Corn futures fall, soybeans firm as harvest expands

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade corn futures fell 1.9 per cent on Thursday, pressured by the expanding harvest in the U.S. Midwest as well as a forecast for a bumper crop in Brazil, traders said.

Soybean futures edged higher, overcoming bearish supply trends on strong export demand and some technical buying.

U.S. wheat futures were mostly weaker, easing on a profit-taking setback after rallying sharply on Wednesday, but some MGEX spring wheat contracts gained slightly amid tight global supplies of high quality milling wheat.

CBOT November soybean futures settled up 1-3/4 cents at $9.58-1/2 a bushel (all figures US$). Soybeans traded lower for much of the session before finding support near the weekly low.

“Beans did a good job of hanging in despite a lot of bearish news today,” Charlie Sernatinger, global head of grain futures at ED+F Man Capital, said in a note to clients. “The talk from the fields is still of very, very good yields, but perhaps a few now coming in of spots where the combine yield counters found fields not yielding as high as last year.”

CBOT December corn futures dropped 7-1/4 cents to close at $3.40-1/2 a bushel.

Brazil’s CONAB on Thursday morning forecast that 2016-17 soybean production in the country, a key exporter, will rise to between 101.9 million and 104 million tonnes from 95.4 million tonnes in the previous marketing year.

CONAB pegged the corn harvest at 82.3 million to 83.8 million tonnes, up from 66.7 million tonnes in the 2015-16 marketing year.

The Brazil forecasts followed an outlook from the Buenos Aires grains exchange on Wednesday that Argentine farmers will likely harvest a record corn crop as they favor planting of 36 million tonnes in 2016-17, six million tonnes more than 2015-16.

USDA reported weekly soybean export sales rose to 2.180 million tonnes from 1.693 million tonnes a week ago, well above forecasts for 1.2 million to 1.5 million tonnes. Weekly corn export sales of 2.602 million tonnes (old-crop and new-crop combined) topped forecasts ranging from 1.6 million to 2.1 million tonnes.

CBOT soft red winter wheat futures for December delivery were down 9-1/4 cents at $3.95-3/4 a bushel. MGEX spring wheat for December delivery ended 1/4 cent higher at $5.24-3/4 a bushel, its eighth straight finish in positive territory.

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.

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