U.S. grains: Wheat tumbles after rally as rain monitored

(Stephen Ausmus photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat tumbled as much as two per cent on Tuesday as investors took profits after the previous session’s five-week high and extended weather outlooks showed the possibility of crop-friendly rains in the U.S. and Russia.

Soybean futures also were lower at the Chicago Board of Trade, pressured by record South American harvests and disappointing manufacturing data out of top importer China.

Corn was higher, touching a roughly two-week peak, on the possibility that analyst outlooks for reduced U.S. spring plantings could foreshadow tighter supplies later this year. Investors already were evening positions ahead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s prospective plantings report, which is due in a week and considered one of the most important crop reports of the year.

After the close of trading on Monday, USDA boosted condition ratings for the winter wheat crop in Texas and Oklahoma, and held ratings steady in top growing state Kansas.

“Wheat has run its course to the upside,” said Jefferies Bache analyst Shawn McCambridge, adding that export demand for U.S. wheat remained lacklustre.

Most-active CBOT May wheat settled 10-1/2 cents lower at $5.23-1/2 per bushel, while soybeans for May delivery fell 1-3/4 cents to $9.81-3/4, retreating after two days of gains (all figures US$).

CBOT May corn was up three cents at $3.93-1/4.

The U.S. Plains wheat-growing region was expected to remain mostly dry for the next week, but the main North American weather model GFS did show a chance for normal amounts of precipitation in the 11-to-15-day outlook, the Commodity Weather Group said.

The Mississippi River Delta still was wet, putting seedings of corn far behind schedule in an area of the country that typically is the first to plant. Further delays in the Delta could result in some farmers’ switching corn to another crop such as soybeans, McCambridge said.

U.S. farmers overall were likely to boost soy seedings amid promises for marginally better returns than corn, analysts say.

Rains were seen expanding next week in the euro region, Ukraine and Russia, and will “provide timely moisture for early wheat growth,” Commodity Weather Group said in a note to clients.

Ukraine’s wheat and corn harvests are likely to decrease this year due to unfavourable weather during autumn sowing and a smaller sown area, analysts at UkrAgroConsult said.

Michael Hirtzer reports on agriculture and ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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