Soybeans sag on improving Argentine crop weather; wheat rises
U.S. soybean futures hit a one-week low on Friday, declining for a third straight session as traders fixated on forecasts for welcome rains in drought-hit Argentina, analysts said.
Corn ended mostly lower on the Argentine weather outlook, but better-than-expected weekly U.S. grain export sales limited losses in corn and lifted wheat futures.
Chicago Board of Trade March soybeans SH3 settled down 8-1/4 cents at $15.06-1/2 per bushel after dipping to $15.04, the contract’s lowest since Jan. 12.
CBOT March corn CH3 ended down 1 cent at $6.76-1/4 a bushel while March wheat WH3 rose 7 cents to settle at $7.41-1/2 a bushel.
South American crop weather remained the focus given drought in Argentina, the world’s largest supplier of soymeal and soyoil. Significant rainfall expected in the coming days could avert further drought losses to Argentina’s soybean and corn crops, after analysts already slashed production estimates.
“Wetter weather is finally expected in Argentina over the next 10 days, easing dryness concerns and reducing crop stress,” space technology company Maxar said in a daily weather note.
Brazil, meanwhile, is on track to produce a record soy crop, which may hasten a seasonal shift in export demand away from U.S. supplies.
Still, corn futures pared losses and traded higher at times after the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported sales of U.S. old-crop corn in the week to Jan. 12 at 1.1 million tonnes, above a range of trade expectations and the biggest weekly tally since mid-November. EXP/CORN
“Corn had a fabulous export sales report. It’s just one week, but if we can keep that up, then we’ve got something to talk about,” said Jack Scoville, analyst with the Price Futures Group in Chicago.
Weekly sales of old-crop U.S. wheat also topped expectations at 473,100 tonnes, lifting CBOT wheat futures.
“Everybody has been moaning about the lack of demand, and deservedly so. But today was a little better,” Scoville said, adding that CBOT wheat futures were due for a bounce. “There is some short-covering going on,” he said.
For the week, the CBOT March wheat contract WH3 fell 0.3% but held above a long-term low set Jan. 10. March corn CH3 rose 0.2% for the week while March soybeans SH3 fell 1.4%.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Julie Ingwersen; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; editing by Subhranshu Sahu, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Josie Kao)