U.S. grains: U.S. wheat falls on improving crop conditions, firmer dollar

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Chicago | Reuters – U.S. wheat futures fell on Tuesday after a weekly government report said the recently planted winter crop was in better-than-expected shape and as a firming dollar created a headwind for the grain in export markets.

Corn prices eased along with sinking wheat as pressure from an advancing U.S. harvest and large expected yields weighed on the market.

Soybeans edged higher for a second straight day on expectations that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will trim its U.S. soy yield forecast in a report on Thursday.

Many traders are focusing on the monthly crop supply and demand report, which is expected to show higher corn yields, lower soybean yields and still-ample global supplies of grains and oilseeds.

Wheat gave back nearly all of its gains from Monday after the USDA late on Monday reported 55 percent of the winter crop was in good-to-excellent condition as of Sunday, up from 52 percent a week earlier and above the average analyst estimate for 53 percent.

“It doesn’t take much to knock down wheat,” said Jim Gerlach, president of A/C Trading. “Condition ratings were higher and the dollar is near a three- or four-month high,” he said.

The greenback gained about 0.25 percent against a basket of currencies on Tuesday. A stronger dollar can impede exports as it makes U.S. wheat more expensive for buyers holding other currencies.

Chicago Board of Trade December soft red winter wheat fell 3-1/2 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $4.27-1/4 a bushel in the largest percentage drop in more than a week.

Corn futures eased despite a second large export sales announcement by the USDA in as many days. The agency on Tuesday said an unknown buyer booked 130,000 tonnes of the grain for shipment in the current marketing year.

Soybeans, meanwhile, drew some support from news that China will commit to buy more U.S. soybeans during U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Beijing this week.

U.S. farmers have finished harvesting 90 percent of the soybean crop, almost matching the five-year average pace of 91 percent, the USDA said after the market closed on Monday.

The agency said 70 percent of the corn crop has been harvested, in line with market expectations although still well below the five-year average pace of 83 percent.

– Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore

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