U.S. grains: Corn, soy ease on warmer weather

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago soybean, corn and wheat futures all settled down on Monday after early strength, as outlooks for improved U.S. weather boosted crop production prospects, analysts said.

The August soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade settled down 14-3/4 cents at $8.89-3/4 a bushel and new-crop November settled down 14-1/2 cents at $9.08-1/2 after reaching $9.34-1/4, the highest level for a most-active contract since June 2018 (all figures US$).

September corn settled down 9-1/4 cents at $4.15-1/2 a bushel, while September wheat settled down 15-1/2 cents at $5.11-3/4.

Improving crop weather including warmer Midwest temperatures over the weekend and beneficial rains in northern areas is expected to help delayed crop growth.

“Temperatures were well above normal across the corn belt over the weekend, accelerating crop growth,” space technology company Maxar said in a weather note to clients.

Both corn and soybean futures were higher in early moves, supported by a thaw in U.S.-China trade relations following talks between the two nations.

The U.S. and China agreed on Saturday to restart trade talks after President Donald Trump offered concessions including no new tariffs and an easing of restrictions on tech company Huawei in order to reduce tensions with Beijing.

However, grain traders expressed doubts following a trade war that has lasted nearly a year.

“Traders are shrugging these talks off,” said Terry Reilly, senior commodities analyst at Futures International. “We’ve heard this all before.”

Reilly added that trade is relatively quiet after last week’s U.S. Department of Agriculture acreage and stocks reports and the upcoming U.S. Independence Day holiday.

After Monday’s CBOT close, USDA in its weekly crop progress report left its condition ratings for both corn and soybeans unchanged from the prior week, at 56 per cent and 54 per cent at a good-to-excellent state, respectively.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a slight improvement for both crops in this week’s report.

USDA on Friday surprised traders by estimating U.S. 2019 corn plantings at 91.7 million acres, topping trade expectations.

Corn futures plunged on Friday despite widespread belief the actual acreage figure was considerably lower and could be amended in the government’s Aug. 12 report.

Wheat futures sagged as the U.S. winter wheat harvest expanded amid drier weather and technical selling. USDA said the winter wheat harvest was 30 per cent complete by Sunday, up from 15 per cent in last week’s report.

Reporting for Reuters by Barbara Smith in Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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