U.S. grains: Soybeans tumble on fund selling, good planting weather

Chicago | Reuters — Soybean futures fell on Tuesday in a profit-taking setback after hitting a 2-1/2 week high and as farmers were expected to accelerate spring planting under mild and mostly dry weather across the Midwest farm belt.

Corn futures slumped for a fifth straight session and hit a 10-week low on active planting across the region while wheat prices eroded, pressured by profit taking, technical selling and burdensome global supplies.

“After the bulls in the market ran out of steam, prices just collapsed on widespread selling,” said Terry Reilly, senior commodity analyst with Futures International in Chicago.

“Midday weather models suggested that we’re going to see good planting weather from the Dakotas to the eastern Midwest, and some rains in the central and southern Plains,” he said, citing beneficial precipitation for the developing winter wheat crop.

Soybean traders shrugged off early support stemming from concerns about razor-thin U.S. stocks, which briefly lifted the benchmark July contract above $15 per bushel for the first time in 2-1/2 weeks (all figures US$).

Support from across-the-board contract highs in soymeal futures also faded as prices for the high-protein animal feed turned lower.

Chicago Board of Trade July soybeans fell 15-1/2 cents, or one per cent, to $14.69-3/4 a bushel. July soymeal shed $3.80, or 0.8 per cent, to $486.70 per ton after earlier hitting a contract high of $499.10.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture late said on Monday that U.S. soybeans were 33 per cent planted as of Sunday, short of the average mid-May pace of 38 per cent planted. USDA also said the corn crop was 73 per cent planted as of Sunday, just behind the seasonal average of 76 per cent.

July corn futures fell 3-3/4 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $4.73-1/2 a bushel. The contract breached support at its 100-day moving average of $4.76-1/2 but failed to break below its 200-day moving average of $4.73.

Deteriorating winter wheat crop conditions and delayed spring crop seeding fueled early-session strength in wheat, but the markets failed to hold the gains as sluggish export demand and abundant global wheat stocks weighed on prices.

USDA said on Monday that winter wheat, stressed by dry conditions in the U.S. Plains, was rated just 29 per cent good to excellent, down one percentage point from a week earlier.

USDA also reported spring wheat planting was 49 per cent complete, behind expectations for 52 per cent.

CBOT July wheat futures fell four cents, or 0.7 per cent, to $6.70-1/2 a bushel, the contract’s ninth decline in 10 sessions. July hard red winter wheat eased 1/2 cent to $7.68-1/4 a bushel, while Minneapolis spring wheat slipped 1/2 cent to $7.38-1/4.

— Karl Plume reports on ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Colin Packham in Sydney and Nigel Hunt in London.

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