U.S. grains: Soy slips to 13-month low

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures fell to a 13-month low on Friday while corn and wheat each gained more than one per cent on spreading and position squaring ahead of a three-day weekend, traders and analysts said.

Some traders sold soybeans and bought corn as wet weather in the Midwestern crop belt was likely to slow the final phases of corn planting. U.S. farmers typically plant corn first since it has a longer growing season than soybeans.

Wet weather in parts of the Plains and Midwest could also damage maturing wheat plants, bolstering both CBOT soft red winter wheat futures and K.C. hard red winter wheat.

Most U.S. futures will not trade on Monday’s Memorial Day holiday.

“We’re putting some weather premium in ahead of the weekend,” EFG Group broker Tom Fritz said of the higher grain prices. “Soft red winter wheat areas are getting a fair amount of water. In corn, the soggy areas are going to stay soggy.”

CBOT July corn finished five cents higher at $3.74-1/4 per bushel (all figures US$). CBOT July wheat was 7-1/2 cents higher at $4.38-1/4 and K.C. July wheat was up 6-1/2 cents to $4.37-1/4.

Much of the buying in corn and wheat was investors taking profits on earlier short positions, the traders said.

U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released after the market close said speculative investors trimmed their net short positions in corn and wheat, and added to their net short in soybean futures, in the week ended May 23.

Soy extends losses

A record-large soybean harvest in Brazil continued to weigh on soybean prices, which fell for the fourth straight session.

CBOT July soybeans eased 13 cents to $9.26-1/2 per bushel. That was the lowest level for the contract since March 31, 2016 while soybeans on a continuous chart were lowest since April 11, 2017.

Crude oil prices firmed. A steep drop in crude oil on Thursday weighed on grain and oilseed prices.

Brazilian soy exports were expected to pick up, after a plunge in the real last week led farmers to sell more of a record harvest, keeping the focus on large global supplies.

“We have an abundance of some of these commodities around the world and when we see balance sheets as large as we have in grains and oilseeds, we’ll need a big shock to change that,” Graydon Chong, senior commodities analyst at Rabobank.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in London.

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