U.S. grains: Soy, wheat hit new lows as supplies outweigh rainy weather

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures fell for a third straight session on Tuesday and struck fresh contract lows in most months as burdensome global stocks and sluggish U.S. exports dragged prices lower, triggering technical selling.

Wheat futures, too, posted contract lows as better-than-expected U.S. winter crop conditions added to pressure from largely beneficial crop weather in key production areas around the globe.

Corn prices followed soybeans and wheat lower for much of the day before rebounding late in the session on worries over spring planting delays in the U.S. Midwest due to wet soils and a rainy forecast into mid-May.

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Grain markets have slumped to new lows in recent days even as government officials have expressed optimism for a breakthrough in U.S.-China trade talks. A trade deal could trigger accelerated U.S. commodities purchases by China, which would help whittle down massive stockpiles of crops like soybeans, corn and wheat.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday that he hopes to make “substantial progress” with Chinese negotiators in the next two rounds of talks. He and other top U.S. officials are in Beijing this week.

“There’s nothing bullish out here. There’s no development in the U.S.-China trade talks and U.S. export announcements remain very quiet,” said Terry Reilly, senior commodities analyst with Futures International.

“I don’t have anything bullish to say except that rain is preventing some of the producers from getting into their fields,” he said.

Chicago Board of Trade July soybeans were down 6-3/4 cents at $8.54 a bushel, one of six contracts that posted new life-of-contract lows (all figures US$).

CBOT July wheat fell 6-1/2 cents to $4.28-3/4 a bushel. May 2019 through May 2020 futures hit new contract lows.

Selling in wheat and soy accelerated as prices fell below recent lows.

July corn ended 3/4 cent higher at $3.62-1/2 a bushel.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said 15 per cent of the U.S. corn crop has been planted, slightly ahead of market expectations, while soybeans were three per cent seeded.

More rain is expected across the Midwest in the coming days, lengthening spring planting delays. If delays stretch into late May, some farmers may switch acres from corn to later-planted soy.

Ample moisture has helped to boost winter wheat ratings, which pressured already slumping prices. USDA said 64 per cent of the crop is in good-to-excellent condition, ahead of market forecasts.

Reporting for Reuters by Karl Plume in Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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