Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat futures fell to a one-week low on Wednesday on position-squaring ahead of a monthly crop report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and forecasts for welcome rains in Russia’s crop belt, analysts said.
Soybean and corn futures were also lower ahead of the USDA’s report, while soyoil futures firmed, following strength in crude oil.
Chicago Board of Trade July wheat settled down four cents at $5.10-1/2 per bushel after dipping to $5.06-1/4, its lowest since May 1 (all figures US$). CBOT July soybeans ended down 4-1/2 cents at $10.15-3/4 a bushel and July corn fell 1/2 cent at $4.02-3/4.
Wheat led the declines on a percentage basis as traders monitored outlooks for moisture arriving in Russia, projected as the world’s top wheat exporter for the 2017-18 marketing year.
The rain “should help restore the health of that crop and leave them with large production once again,” said Brian Hoops, analyst with Midwest Market Solutions.
Plentiful global wheat supplies have fueled strong competition for export business. Ahead of USDA’s May supply/demand report on Thursday, the average estimate of U.S. 2018-19 world wheat ending stocks among analysts surveyed by Reuters was 269.18 million tonnes, down just slightly from a record-high 271 million at the end of 2017-18.
“Winter wheat prices are leading the complex lower ahead of tomorrow’s big USDA report that is expected to show smaller, but still ample, global supplies,” INTL FCStone chief commodities economist Arlan Suderman said in a client note.
Soybeans fell, with the July contract ending near chart support at its 200-day average near $10.16. Some analysts cited drier forecasts for Argentina, where the soybean harvest has been stalled by rain.
Others noted ongoing worries about U.S. soy export prospects amid uncertainty surrounding U.S. trade relations with China, the world’s top soybean buyer.
Analysts on average expect USDA on Thursday to lower its forecasts of domestic and global 2017-18 soybean ending stocks.
For corn, analysts expect little change in USDA’s forecast of 2017-18 ending stocks from its April figure near 2.18 billion bushels. But they expect the government to project a drop in corn stocks to 1.628 billion bushels by the end of 2018-19.
— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.