U.S. grains: Wheat firms as crop ratings decline; soy, corn sag a bit

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Chicago | Reuters – U.S. wheat futures touched a one-week high on Tuesday on light short-covering and worries about declining U.S. crop condition ratings, analysts said.

Corn futures ended down after a choppy session and soybeans drifted lower as traders awaited direction from the outcome of U.S. congressional elections and monthly U.S. supply/demand reports due on Thursday.

Chicago Board of Trade December soft red winter wheat settled up 4-3/4 cents at $5.12 per bushel. CBOT December corn ended down 3/4 cent at $3.73-1/4 a bushel and January soybeans fell 1-1/2 cents to $8.84-1/4 a bushel.

CBOT wheat climbed nearly 1 percent after the U.S. Department of Agriculture late on Monday rated 51 percent of the U.S. winter wheat crop in good to excellent condition, down from 53 percent the previous week.

Analysts on average had expected a slight improvement. The USDA also said the winter wheat crop was 84 percent seeded, lagging the five-year average of 90 percent, with cold temperatures in the Plains and Midwest forecast for next week.

“We are running out of time on planting winter wheat, so we may be losing acres,” said Terry Reilly, senior analyst with Futures International in Chicago.

High temperatures in the U.S. midsection next week will only reach the 30s and 40s Fahrenheit (zero to 6 degrees Celsius), with lows in the 10s and 20s (minus 9 to minus 4 C), Radiant Solutions said in a client note.

Commodity funds hold a net short position in CBOT wheat futures, leaving the market vulnerable to bouts of short-covering.

CBOT December corn climbed to $3.74-1/2, its highest since Oct. 17, before retreating.

Traders seemed reluctant to stake out large new positions ahead of Tuesday’s midterm election results and the USDA’s November supply/demand reports on Thursday.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters on average expect USDA to lower its U.S. corn and soybean yield estimates.

They also expect the government to trim its forecast of U.S. 2018/19 corn ending stocks while raising its forecast of U.S. soy stocks.

“Soybeans and corn are not seeing a lot of movement today as the market assesses the background macro factors of the U.S. midterm elections and the continuing U.S./China trade dispute,” said Charles Clack, agricultural commodity analyst at Rabobank.

China is ready to hold discussions and work with the United States to resolve trade disputes because the world’s two largest economies stand to lose from confrontation, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan said on Tuesday.

– Additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.


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