U.S. grains: Profit taking pressures wheat, corn, soybeans

Warmer spell also drags on winter wheat futures

CBOT May 2021 wheat with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages. (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures slid 2.8 per cent on Friday, their second straight day of declines, on a profit-taking setback as warming weather in the U.S. reduced the threat of damage to the dormant crop, traders said.

Corn and soybean futures also were weaker but closed well above session lows after finding technical support. Traders said that a lack of export activity this week, even with Chinese buyers back on the market following the Lunar New Year celebrations, was seen as a bearish sign.

“A bull market needs to be fed everyday,” said Mark Gold, founder of Top Third Ag Marketing. “We just do not see export numbers justifying these kind of prices.”

All three commodities posted weekly gains. Soybeans rose 1.5 per cent this week, and hit a 6-1/2-year high on Thursday.

CBOT May soybean futures were down 3-1/4 cents at $14.04-1/4 a bushel (all figures US$).

Soybeans ended February with a ninth consecutive monthly gain, against a backdrop of dwindling U.S. stocks and a rain-slowed Brazilian harvest that have raised uncertainty about availability to meet strong Chinese demand.

But in China, soybean crushers are expected to curb activity due to Brazilian harvest delays, while fresh outbreaks of African swine fever have created concern about feed demand.

CBOT May wheat was off 15-1/2 cents at $6.60-1/4 a bushel and CBOT May corn was down 2-1/4 cents at $5.47-1/2 a bushel. Corn futures rose 0.7 per cent this week while wheat was up 1.7 per cent.

Many analysts and traders still see global supply tensions supporting grain prices.

“There is a bit of profit-taking, but overall we are still bullish, especially for soybeans and corn,” said Ole Houe, director of advisory services at brokerage IKON Commodities.

“We are just about to enter the critical March-May planting season in the Northern Hemisphere, so there is plenty of risk ahead.”

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago.

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