U.S. grains: Wheat at 3-1/2-month low after USDA report

Chicago | Reuters –– U.S. wheat futures fell to a 3-1/2 month low on Wednesday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture raised its forecasts of U.S. and world wheat ending stocks above trade expectations in a monthly report, traders said.

USDA also raised its estimate of global 2014-15 wheat production, more than offsetting a cut in the U.S. wheat harvest. [Related story]

Corn fell to a four-month low and soybeans hit their lowest in a month on rising global inventories and benign crop weather in the U.S. Midwest.

At the Chicago Board of Trade, July wheat settled down 12 cents at $5.89-1/4 per bushel after hitting $5.88-1/2, the lowest spot price since Feb. 28 (all figures US$).

USDA lowered its estimate of U.S. 2014 winter wheat output to 1.381 billion bushels, from 1.403 billion in May, reflecting losses in the drought-hit U.S. Plains. But the shortfall was easily overshadowed by increased wheat production forecasts for India, the European Union, China and Russia.

“When you’re the only one with significant production loss, it’s difficult to remain competitive in the world market,” said Shawn McCambridge, analyst at Jefferies Bache in Chicago.

CBOT July corn settled down 4-1/2 cents at $4.41 a bushel after hitting $4.39-1/4, its lowest since mid-February.

Corn tumbled after USDA raised its global 2014-15 corn ending stocks forecasts to 182.65 million tonnes, above an average analyst estimate of 181.52 million.

“We are looking at huge world carryouts, and with the current weather in the U.S., there is no reason that the carryout can’t move significantly higher,” said Mark Gold, managing partner at Top Third Ag Marketing in Chicago.

Soybeans fell despite USDA lowering its 2013/14 U.S. soybean ending stocks forecast to 125 million bushels, a 10-year low, from 130 million in May.

July soybeans ended down 17 cents at $14.45-1/2 a bushel after touching $14.44-1/2, the lowest spot price since May 7.

“The bean number I would call neutral to slightly friendly, but you can see that the market was looking for a number similar to this because we’re selling off here,” said Joe Vaclavik, president of Standard Grain in Chicago.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering crop commodity markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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