GRAINS-Wheat Faces 4th Week of Decline as U.S. Rains Boost Winter Crop Outlook

March 29th, 2018


Category: Grains

(Reuters) –  Chicago wheat futures ticked higher on Thursday after hitting a near two-month low in the previous session, with the market poised for a consecutive fourth week of decline as rains in parched U.S. Plains boost crop prospects.

Soybeans were little changed, on track for a second week of declines, while corn ticked higher in Asian trade but was still set to end down for a third week in a row.

The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board Of Trade  added 0.3 percent at $4.46-3/4 a bushel by 0155 GMT, having closed down 0.8 percent on Wednesday when prices hit a low of $4.44-1/2 a bushel – the weakest since Feb. 6.

Soybeans were unchanged at $10.18 a bushel and corn rose 0.1 percent to $3.74 a bushel.

“Investors remain as potential sellers of a long position but the trading pattern yesterday suggests they were not active,” said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, referring to wheat futures.

“The prospect of relieving rain is also probably weighing on prices.”

Wheat futures have lost nearly 11 percent in four weeks of declines, while corn is down more than 4 percent in three consecutive down-weeks. Soybeans are down a little over 3 percent in two straight weeks of losses.

Investors in agricultural markets are readying for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s plantings and stocks reports.

Analysts expect the government to project an increase in U.S. soybean plantings compared to 2017 and a decline in corn acreage.

The market also expects the USDA to show the largest U.S. March 1 stocks on record for both corn and soybeans, following several years of bumper harvests.

Brazilian soybean farmers are looking at another strong year after a drought in Argentina and international trade tension

involving the United States and China boosted prospects for the country’s oilseeds industry.

Drought-hit Argentine soy yields are well below historic averages, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said on Wednesday, with 8.8 percent of the harvest completed in the central farm belt and little hope of a near-term improvement in the weather.

A recent increase in dryness in northern parts of the Pampas agricultural area, which had been moist earlier in the season, did not bode well for harvesting over the weeks ahead, the exchange said in its weekly crop report. Commodity funds were net sellers of CBOT corn, soybeans, wheat and soymeal futures contracts on Wednesday, and net buyers in soyoil, traders said.



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