U.S. grains: Corn, soy, wheat slide on stronger U.S. dollar, export concerns

Market awaits USDA crop forecasts ahead of corn, soy harvests

CBOT December 2021 corn (candlesticks) with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages (yellow, orange and dark green lines). (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago corn, soybean and wheat futures slipped Tuesday as a stronger dollar, export concerns and early U.S. harvest activity weighed on the complex ahead of the U.S. Agriculture Department’s monthly supply and demand report, due out Friday.

Analysts anticipate USDA’s Sept. 10 outlook to increase estimates of U.S. corn and soybean production as the Midwest harvest begins.

The Chicago Board of Trade’s (CBOT) most active corn contract ended 13-1/4 cents lower at $5.10-3/4 per bushel, its lowest level since July 9 (all figures US$).

CBOT soybeans lost 15 cents to end at $12.77 per bushel, while wheat slid 6-1/2 cents to $7.19-3/4 per bushel.

The U.S. dollar closed up 0.49 per cent at 92.49 against a basket of major currencies, pressuring grain exports already suffering from port closures at the U.S. Gulf.

“A rally in the dollar is negative for all of our commodities,” said Brian Hoops, senior market analyst at Midwest Market Solutions.

U.S. exports of corn and soybeans dropped to multi-year lows last week after export terminals in the U.S. South were battered by Hurricane Ida. Export facilities remain closed due to damage and power outages.

“It’s going to take a little longer than we thought to get our exports back up to normal. A lot of buyers are simply walking away from the U.S.,” said Karl Setzer, commodity risk analyst at Agrivisor. “There’s still a lot of uncertainty on what’s taking place in the Gulf.”

U.S. exporters shipped just 68,059 tonnes of soybeans the week ended Sept. 2, down 82 per cent from a week earlier and 96 per cent less than the year-ago period. Corn exports of 275,799 tonnes were 53 per cent lower than the week prior and 69 per cent lower than the year-ago week, according to USDA.

Soybean futures were underpinned by recent export sales to China, though Chinese soybean imports fell in August from a year ago, customs data showed.

Wheat lost ground on mixed harvest prospects from world suppliers such as Russia and North America, though the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences lifted its production forecast for the country’s next crop by more than 17 per cent to a near-record level after recent favourable weather.

— Christopher Walljasper reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago.

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