Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat futures extended losses on Friday, touching a one-month low as rain and snow forecast for dry parts of the U.S. Plains improved production prospects, analysts said.
Soybean futures finished narrowly mixed, caught between surging soyoil futures amid tightening world vegetable oil supplies, and slowing demand for soymeal, a hog feed ingredient.
Corn prices ended little changed ahead of the weekend.
Chicago Board of Trade May wheat settled down four cents at $6.38-1/2 per bushel after dipping to $6.37-1/2, its lowest since Feb. 12 (all figures US$).
Wheat futures fell as a winter storm was expected to bring snow, rain and high winds through Sunday to the Rocky Mountains and Plains. Winter wheat should benefit from the moisture as the crop emerges from dormancy and begins its key growth phase.
“Wheat prices reflect expectations for improving weather here in the States, along with soft export demand and weak seasonal signals,” Arlan Suderman, StoneX chief commodities economist, said in a client note.
CBOT May corn settled up 1/2 cent at $5.39 a bushel.
In the soy complex, May soybeans ended down 1/4 cent at $14.13-1/4 a bushel while soyoil futures set life-of-contract highs and rival Malaysian palm oil futures hit a 13-year top.
Meanwhile, CBOT May soymeal fell below its 100-day moving average, triggering sell-stops, on fears that disease outbreaks in China’s huge hog herd will hurt demand for the feed ingredient.
Soybean and corn futures were underpinned by uncertainty about the size of the harvests in South America, with dry conditions threatening Argentina’s crops and wet weather slowing Brazil’s soy harvest.
“We are still trying to get our arms around what is happening in Latin America,” said Dan Basse, president of AgResource Co. in Chicago.
The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange this week lowered its estimate of Argentina’s soybean harvest to 44 million tonnes and its corn forecast to 45 million tonnes, below its previous forecasts of 46 million tonnes for each crop.
But several forecasters have increased estimates for Brazil’s ongoing soybean harvest, despite rain delays.
— Reporting for Reuters by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.