Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures hit their highest prices in more than two years on Monday before paring gains, as dry weather in parts of the U.S. Midwest is expected to damage the condition of crops, analysts said.
Wheat futures set a four-month high, while corn futures retreated after touching their highest price since March.
Traders are keeping a close eye on U.S. weather ahead of the autumn soybean and corn harvests amid concerns about dryness in the Midwest, including a drought in the key state of Iowa. Rains were disappointing during the weekend, and this week’s forecast looks too dry in general, traders said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in a weekly report, lowered its good-to-excellent rating of the nation’s soybean crop by three percentage points from last week, matching analysts’ expectations. Corn ratings dropped by two percentage points, which was less than the three percentage points expected by analysts.
“Weekend rains in U.S. farm belts disappointed,” said Matt Ammermann, StoneX commodity risk manager.
Rain could still help later-planted crops, especially soybeans.
November soybean futures settled up three cents at $9.53-1/2 a bushel and touched the highest price for a most-active contract since June 2018 at $9.66-3/4 (all figures US$).
December corn futures ended down 1-1/2 cents at $3.57-3/4, after hitting the highest price for a most-active contract since March 16.
The most-active CBOT soft red winter wheat futures gained 3-1/2 cents to close at $5.52-1/4 per bushel and reached the highest price since April 20.
Rising prices in Russia and Ukraine, rivals to U.S. exporters, helped underpin CBOT wheat futures, traders said.
In export news, USDA said private exporters sold 596,000 tonnes of U.S. corn to China for delivery in the 2020-21 marketing year that begins Sept. 1.
— Reporting for Reuters by Tom Polansek in Chicago, Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Michael Hogan in Hamburg.