U.S. grains: Spring wheat at 2-1/2-year high, corn at six-month low

Chicago | Reuters –– MGEX spring wheat futures jumped to a 2-1/2-year high on Friday and Chicago Board of Trade corn futures dipped to a six-month low in technically driven trade amid an outlook for generally favourable U.S. crop weather, traders said.

Soybean futures touched the lowest levels in more than a year before paring losses as dealers squared positions ahead of the weekend and a U.S. Department of Agriculture quarterly stocks and U.S. acreage report due on June 30.

Spring wheat futures gained in the previous session while most other agriculture futures declined. Prices extended their rally on Friday, with front-month MGEX July spring wheat finishing up five cents to $6.60 per bushel (all figures US$).

Global benchmark CBOT July wheat eased from earlier higher prices to settle 1-1/2 cents lower at $4.59-3/4 per bushel and K.C. July HRW wheat futures were down 4-1/4 cents at $4.63-1/2.

“(Thursday) was a bullish reversal. Today you have the follow-through,” independent trader Austin Damiani said by phone from the MGEX trading floor in Minneapolis. “Momentum is really engaged right now. Friday, sometimes you just go with the trend.”

Hot temperatures and dry conditions this year in the spring wheat growing area of the Dakotas damaged young wheat plants, pushing up prices for the high-protein variety just as the hard red winter wheat harvest started to come in with low protein content in the southern Plains.

In Europe, dry weather last week resulted in declining crop conditions for the French soft wheat crop, data from farming agency FranceAgriMer showed, suggesting crops were already suffering before a heatwave this week.

Cool outlook

CBOT July corn fell to fresh lows late in the session, easing five cents to $3.57-3/4 per bushel, the lowest levels seen so far in 2017.

CBOT July soybean futures edged 1/2 cent higher to $9.04-1/2 per bushel, up from their session low of $9.00-1/2. Soybeans on a continuous chart have not breached psychological support of $9 since March 31, 2016.

USDA will estimate how many acres U.S. farmers planted of each crop after preliminary data in March showed record-large soybean intended acres.

Cooler temperatures were forecast during the next week for developing corn, soy and spring wheat crops in the U.S. Midwest and northern Plains. A widespread rain event also was predicted around the end of the month, according to Thomson Reuters Weather Research.

“Weather concerns for U.S. corn and soybean crops have eased, both markets in bearish mood,” said Kaname Gokon of Tokyo brokerage Okato Shoji.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Nigel Hunt in London and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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