U.S. grains: Soybeans fall as trade concerns weigh

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean prices fell on Thursday despite stronger-than-expected export sales as investors worried that an eagerly awaited trade deal between Washington and Beijing remained elusive.

Wheat and corn also fell as heavy deliveries against the March contracts weighed on the market.

There were 820 deliveries against CBOT March soybeans, 400 deliveries against the CBOT March soft red winter wheat contract and 910 deliveries against CBOT March corn futures.

Meanwhile, soybean export sales in the week ended Feb. 21 were 2.196 million tonnes, corn sales totaled 1.36 million tones, and wheat sales totaled 537,300 tonnes.

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“The export sales report should have been positive. The deliveries were a little higher than expectations and that’s part of the reason why we can’t do much with the market today,” said Jack Scoville, a futures market analyst at the Price Futures Group.

May soybean futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade fell 6-1/2 cents at $9.10-1/4 per bushel (all figures US$).

May corn lost three cents to settle at $3.70-3/4 per bushel. It earlier sank to $3.70 a bushel, the weakest since Sept. 20.

May wheat fell 7-1/4 cents to $4.59-1/2 a bushel, dropping to a fresh contract low. It posted its fourth consecutive session of declines on technical selling, as global competition raised worries about demand for U.S. supplies.

Investors awaited additional details on a U.S.-China trade deal. The U.S. will need to maintain the threat of tariffs on Chinese goods for years even if the two countries strike a deal to end the costly tariff war, President Donald Trump’s chief trade negotiator told lawmakers on Wednesday.

The comments came after U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said last Friday that China had committed to buy an additional 10 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans.

“It’s just some of this slower development on some of the trade issues than the trade would like to see,” said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities. “Tomorrow is the first of March… The can has been kicked down the road.”

— Stephanie Kelly is a Reuters reporter covering oil and fuel markets from New York and, today, grains from Chicago; additional reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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