Chicago | Reuters –– Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) corn and soybean futures closed lower on Friday, as weather forecasts showed fewer yield risks to Midwest crops ahead of harvesting, as traders jockeyed for positioning ahead of a U.S. grain stocks report slated for Monday, traders said.
Meanwhile, CBOT wheat futures extended a technical bounce for a second day, amid growing international demand, concerns over grain quality in the northern U.S. Plains, and worries about weather issues in Canada and Australia.
The soybean market continued to consolidate, after a week marked by a run of Chinese purchases seen as part of efforts to revive negotiations over a year-old trade dispute between Washington and Beijing.
The Chinese buying continued on Friday: The U.S. Department of Agriculture, through its daily reporting system, said private exporters sold 126,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China for delivery in the 2019-20 marketing year that began Sept. 1.
While the Chinese buying supported soybean prices on Friday, traders said that any potential rally was soured by ongoing concern that the spread of the deadly African swine fever would limit feed demand.
Instead, traders said, their attention was shifting toward closely followed U.S. grains stocks data, slated for release on Monday.
“Right now, the market is playing it safe,” said Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics and Consulting. “The fear is that USDA will suddenly, somehow, find more grain supplies.”
The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board Of Trade ended the day down 0.6 per cent at $8.83 a bushel (all figures US$). CBOT corn ended 0.1 per cent lower at $3.71-1/2 a bushel.
As U.S. corn harvesting gets going and the soybean harvest approaches, weather forecasts suggested that previously expected cold weather risks to wide swaths of the Midwest may not have much of an impact on yields.
“Frost in Northern Plains next week (is) more limited, keeping (the) threat low for corn/soy not fully mature,” the Commodity Weather Group said in a note, adding the frost risk the following week appeared minimal.
Elsewhere, forecasted rain might delay harvest work but was not expected to damage crops and could also help growth of late-developing fields, it said.
But weather worries were seen as supportive for CBOT’s wheat futures this week, traders said.
Excessively wet conditions in the northern U.S. Plains and Canadian Prairies have hurt the quality of the region’s spring and durum wheat crops, potentially tightening supplies of top grades of the grains, handlers and agronomists said.
A weekend storm is poised to bring more than a foot of snow to parts of Montana and the Canadian Prairies, putting portions of the region’s spring wheat and canola crops at risk, a meteorologist said.
CBOT wheat ended Friday 0.6 per cent higher at $4.87-1/4 a bushel, continuing Thursday’s rebound that had followed a five-session falling streak.
— Reporting for Reuters by P.J. Huffstutter in Chicago; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.