July 14, 2017 / 10:07 AM / 2 months ago

GRAINS-U.S. grain prices edge up, focus remains on crop weather

* Cooler weather improves outlook for U.S. crops

* Wheat, corn and soy remain on track for weekly losses (Adds quotes, updates prices)

By Nigel Hunt

LONDON, July 14 (Reuters) - U.S. corn prices were higher on Friday, recouping some of the prior session’s steep losses, as the market’s focus remained on weather in the Midwest where cooler temperatures could improve the outlook in some areas.

Chicago wheat and soybean futures also edged up but remained on track for weekly losses.

The most active corn futures on the Chicago Board of Trade rose 0.9 percent to $3.86-1/2 a bushel by 0954 GMT. The contract remained on track for a weekly loss of 4.5 percent.

“The price slide was triggered by reports of cooler temperatures and rainfall in some Midwest growing regions, eastern and central regions profiting in particular,” Commerzbank said in a market note.

“By contrast the more westerly areas are remaining dry and warm – with the result that prices are picking up again accordingly.”

The market has been weighed on this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s forecast of end-2017/18 U.S. corn stocks at 2.325 billion bushels, up from 2.110 billion in June and above an average of analysts’ estimates of 2.181 billion.

The most active wheat futures on the Chicago Board of Trade rose 0.8 percent to $5.15-3/4 a bushel but was on track for a weekly loss of 3.6 percent.

Earlier in the week USDA increased its estimate for U.S. winter wheat production while reducing projected output of spring wheat - the variety that has been hit by drought and heat in the northern U.S. Plains - by less than expected.

December wheat futures in Paris were up 0.50 euros or 0.3 percent at 181.75 euros a tonne.

“In Europe, the harvest is starting again after the recent rains with variable yields for both wheat and barley whilst a potential deterioration in quality continues to be assessed in Eastern France, Germany and Poland,” CRM AgriCommodities said in a market update.

The most active CBOT soybean futures contract rose 0.5 percent to $9.92 a bushel but was on track for a weekly loss of 2.3 percent.

“U.S. dryness and heat remain a key driver with soybeans entering a key yield determining period over coming weeks,” CRM AgriCommodities said.

“Cooler temperatures are expected next week, but still rains (are) lacking in the Northern Plains and West Midwest.” (Additional reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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