U.S. grains: Wheat retreats on profit-taking, weather

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat futures fell about two per cent on Wednesday on a mix of profit-taking following 10-month highs established a day earlier and improving weather forecasts for U.S. and Canadian spring wheat regions, analysts said.

Corn futures hit a one-month low and soybeans followed the weak trend.

As of 12:51 p.m. CT, Chicago Board of Trade July wheat was down 12 cents at $5.24-1/2 per bushel, a day after climbing to $5.54, its highest level since July 2017 (all figures US$).

CBOT July corn was down six cents at $3.94 a bushel after dipping to $3.90-3/4, its lowest price since April 25. July soybeans were down six cents at $10.24-1/2 a bushel.

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Wheat fell the most, but traders said the selling in all three commodities was largely technical.

“What we went through this morning was a lot of fund long liquidation,” said Roy Huckabay with Linn + Associates, a Chicago brokerage.

Forecasts for much-needed showers in wheat areas of the Canadian Prairies added to bearish sentiment.

“A significant change in the weather pattern is expected over the next 10 days, with cooler and much wetter weather expected,” Radiant Solutions said in a daily weather note.

Corn and soy prices sagged on follow-through selling after Tuesday’s downside reversals, and as trade tensions between China and the U.S. flared again.

China lashed out at renewed threats from the White House on trade, warning that it was ready to fight back if Washington was looking for a trade war, days ahead of a planned visit by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

In an unexpected change in tone, the U.S. on Tuesday said it still holds the threat of imposing tariffs on $50 billion of imports from China and will use it unless Beijing addresses the issue of theft of U.S. intellectual property.

China is the world’s biggest soybean importer and the top buyer of U.S. sorghum, a feed grain that competes with corn.

“You have a negative attitude in all the ags amid bipolar commentary coming out of Washington and Beijing,” one Chicago trader said.

Pressure also stemmed from better-than-expected condition ratings for the U.S. corn and winter wheat crops.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture late on Tuesday rated 79 per cent of the corn crop as good to excellent, above the highest in a range of trade estimates and up from 65 per cent at the same point last year.

USDA rated 38 per cent of the winter wheat crop as good to excellent, up from 36 per cent the previous week. Analysts on average had expected no change.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago; additional reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. in Manila and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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