Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn futures ended mixed on Thursday as traders took profits following a strong run-up in the market, while global supply concerns offered support.
Soybeans slipped as soyoil stepped back from recent highs, while wheat ticked higher as dryness expands across the U.S. Great Plains.
The most-active corn futures on the Chicago Board of Trade ended 4-1/4 cents higher at $6.48-1/4 per bushel, while nearby May corn added 15-3/4 cents to $7.02 per bushel (all figures US$).
Wheat futures added 6-1/4 cents to $7.29 per bushel. Soybean futures lost 11-1/2 cents to end at $15.02-1/4 per bushel.
Profit taking and promising U.S. planting weather pushed corn and soybean markets lower, despite uncertainties about global production.
“We’ve had several days of good selling,” said Jack Scoville, market analyst at the Price Futures Group. “I expect sideways, with a fairly volatile market in through here.”
Southern Brazil is forecast to stay dry into early May, but an expected warming of temperatures along with showers in the U.S. Midwest could help planting and early crop development.
“It’s still chilly, but at least there’s some rain around, it’s looking better for planting. So that’s hurting the new crop (futures).”
Corn export sales totaled 1.075 million tonnes in the week ended April 22, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said, in line with analysts’ forecasts of 500,000 tonnes to 1.6 million tonnes.
Soybean export sales totaled 731,500 tonnes, topping forecasts ranging from 100,000 to 700,000 tonnes.
Wheat gained despite pressure from major buyers deferring or lowering purchases amid soaring prices, as dryness across the U.S. Plains intensifies, according to the U.S. drought monitor.
Wheat continues to get support as a more affordable alternative feedstock to corn, according to Terry Reilly, senior agriculture futures analyst at Futures International.
“Wheat got cheap, relative to corn, so demand for wheat picked up a little bit,” he said.
Wheat export sales totaled 461,300 tonnes, in line with analysts’ forecasts of 200,000 to 750,000 tonnes.
— Reporting for Reuters by Christopher Walljasper in Chicago; additional reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney.