U.S. grains: Wheat hits two-week low on spreading

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Board of Trade wheat futures fell to a roughly two-week low on Monday while MGEX spring wheat gained one per cent in wheat spreading as dry conditions stressed the spring wheat crop in the northern U.S. Plains, traders said.

Investors were selling most-active CBOT wheat and buying MGEX wheat as U.S. winter wheat varieties remained too expensive in global markets even as drought conditions in the Dakotas and Montana reduced yield prospects for the spring wheat harvest.

“We have a demand drag on this market. It’s just enough to offset the weather fears,” Global Commodities Analytics president Mike Zuzolo said of U.S. wheat.

CBOT September soft red winter wheat futures finished 4-3/4 cents lower at $5.06 per bushel, lowest since June 30 (all figures US$). K.C. September hard red winter wheat declined seven cents to $5.06-1/2 per bushel and MGEX September spring wheat was 9-1/4 cents higher to $7.67-1/4 per bushel.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture after the close of futures trading rated the U.S. spring wheat crop at 34 per cent good to excellent, down one percentage point from a week ago and matching analyst expectations.

Good-to-excellent ratings for the U.S. corn and soy crops also eased by one percentage point, to 64 per cent and 61 per cent respectively, matching expectations.

Both corn and soybean futures finished narrowly lower after prices rose at times earlier in the session. CBOT September corn settled down 1-1/4 cents at $3.75 per bushel and CBOT August soybeans off four cents to $9.85 per bushel.

“We’re in the midst of a weather market,” said Top Third Ag Marketing analyst Mark Gold. “The market is trying to digest the different forecasts.”

Weather in many U.S. growing areas was hot and relatively dry last week, even as crop-friendly precipitation was forecast for later this week in the western Midwest and parts of the northern Plains, agriculture meteorologists said.

However, temperatures were likely to be hot and above-normal during the next six to 15 days in much of the Midwest and Plains, potentially stressing crops, the Commodity Weather Group said in a note to clients.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Colin Packham in Sydney and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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