U.S. grains: Wheat, corn down on crop conditions, weather

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago corn and wheat futures settled down on Tuesday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) raised its condition ratings for both grains and more crop-friendly weather was forecast for the Midwest.

“This downward trend has been led by wheat,” said Ted Seifried of Zaner Group. “These crop conditions are absolutely bearish.”

Soybean futures turned higher, rallying from early declines, supported by a decline in weekly USDA crop condition ratings.

Chicago Board of Trade September corn futures settled down seven cents, at $4.32-1/2 a bushel (all figures US$).

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CBOT September wheat settled down 8-1/4 cents at $5.02-3/4 a bushel after dipping below $5 for the first time since June 10.

August soybean futures settled up seven cents at $8.86 a bushel, holding above chart support at the contract’s 50-day moving average near $8.69-1/2.

USDA said in its weekly crop report on Monday that 57 per cent of the U.S. corn crop was in good to excellent condition, up from 56 per cent last week and matching analysts’ expectations.

“There was no bullish news in this report,” said Seifried.

USDA said 64 per cent of U.S. winter wheat was in good to excellent condition, up from 63 per cent last week and above expectations of 63 per cent. Some 47 per cent of the U.S. winter wheat harvest was completed, above trade expectations for 45 per cent.

However, USDA said 53 per cent of U.S. soybeans were in good to excellent shape, down from 54 per cent last week and bucking analyst expectations for an improvement.

“Soybeans are trying to find some independent strength,” said Seifried.

U.S. grain futures rose on Monday after forecasts for hot and dry weather in the U.S. Midwest in the coming days, raising concern that late-planted corn and soybean crops may be stressed. But some forecasts on Tuesday included rain later in the week.

“We’re not exactly sure what to make of this weather,” said Seifried. “The dry air could help, but it could also distress the crops.”

Wheat futures faced additional pressure from stiff competition for export business, given ample global supplies.

Russia’s 2019 grain crop may be two to five per cent bigger than last year’s, said Roman Vilfand, head of research at Russian weather forecaster Hydrometcentre.

Egypt’s main state wheat buyer purchased 240,000 tonnes of Romanian and Ukrainian wheat at an international tender. No U.S. wheat was offered.

— Reporting for Reuters by Barbara Smith in Chicago; additional reporting by Colin Packham.

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