Chicago | Reuters –– U.S. wheat futures fell to their lowest in more than two months on Monday, pressured by sluggish demand on the export front and some much-needed rain in the U.S. Plains, traders said.
Soybean futures were higher, supported by gains in the crude oil market as well as strong demand from China. Recent sales to China also lent support to corn futures but the downturn in wheat capped the gains.
The most-active Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat contract notched its sixth decline in the last seven sessions. The contract has shed 4.8 per cent of its value during that stretch.
“U.S. wheat prices remain in a bearish trend; the export business is still gloomy,” French consultancy Agritel said in a note.
Chicago Board of Trade July soft red winter wheat futures settled down 3-1/4 cents at $4.97 a bushel (all figures US$). On a continuous basis, the most-active contract hit its lowest since March 16.
A U.S. Agriculture Department report showed wheat export inspections of 440,822 tonnes in the week ended, in line with forecasts for 300,000 tonnes to 600,000 tonnes.
CBOT July corn futures ended up 1-1/2 cents at $3.20-3/4 a bushel and CBOT July soybeans were 6-1/2 cents higher at $8.45 a bushel.
“Those purchases of soybeans, soyoil and corn come at a time when U.S. prices are quite cheap, providing good timing for boosting Chinese reserves while also helping it keep its commitments made in the phase-one trade agreement,” Arlan Suderman, INTL FCStone’s chief commodity economist, wrote in a note to clients.
China has asked trading firms and food processors to boost inventories of grains and oilseeds as a possible second wave of coronavirus cases and worsening infection rates elsewhere raise concerns about global supply lines.
Both state-run and private grain traders as well as food producers were urged to procure higher volumes of soybeans, soyoil and corn during calls with China’s ministry of commerce in recent days, three trade sources told Reuters.
Oil prices jumped on Monday, supported by positive early results on a potential coronavirus vaccine and optimism about resumption in economic activity.
Weekly soybean export inspections were 352,189 tonnes and corn export inspections were 1.151 million tonnes, USDA said.
— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago; additional reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney, Emily Chow in Shanghai and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.