May 10, 2018 / 8:57 PM / 4 months ago

GRAINS-Wheat slips on bearish USDA crop forecast; soybeans firm

    * USDA's U.S. wheat crop forecast tops expectations
    * Soy firm on tightening U.S. ending stocks view
    * Corn edges lower but USDA sees tighter global supplies

 (Updates with closing prices)
    By Julie Ingwersen
    CHICAGO, May 10 (Reuters) - Chicago Board of Trade wheat
futures fell to a near two-week low on Thursday after the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's first official estimate of the
2018-19 U.S. wheat harvest came in above trade expectations.
    Soybean futures rose while corn followed wheat lower.
    CBOT July wheat settled down 4 cents at $5.06-1/2 per
bushel after dipping to $5.00-1/4, its lowest since April 27.
    July soybeans rose 5-1/2 cents to $10.21-1/4 a bushel
and July corn fell 3/4 cent at $4.02 a bushel.
    Wheat declined after the USDA projected the total U.S. wheat
crop for the 2018-19 marketing year at 1.821 billion bushels,
above the average analyst estimate for 1.777 billion and up 5
percent from the prior year.
    Winter wheat grown in the southern U.S. Plains has struggled
with months of drought, but the USDA said combined production of
spring and durum wheat would increase 34 percent from the
previous year.
    Some analysts predicted USDA eventually would lower its
winter wheat production estimate, noting the crop's immaturity.
    "I expect this to be a high point in the year. The crop is
too immature to count tillers and assume normal head size," said
Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist with INTL FCStone.
    The USDA forecast that world wheat stocks would total 264.33
million tonnes by the end of the 2018-19 marketing year, down
about 2 percent from its 2017-18 forecast of 270.46 million, an
all-time high.
    CBOT wheat was also pressured by a smaller-than-expected
weekly U.S. wheat export sales tally. 
  
    Soybean futures rose after the USDA, in its first official
supply/demand forecasts for the new crop year, projected 2018-19
soybean ending stocks at 415 million bushels. The figure was
below most trade expectations.
    "U.S. soybean ending stocks were a big surprise. Of interest
is the fact they ... implied very strong demand, likely based on
Argentina, for the remainder of the new crop year," said Rich 
Nelson, chief strategist for Allendale Inc. 
    Corn futures eased in sympathy with wheat. However, futures
drew underlying support from USDA's forecast that global corn
ending stocks would fall to 159.15 million tonnes by the end of
2018-19, from 194.85 million in 2017-18 and below a range of
trade expectations.
    "That's a 35 million metric ton reduction from old crop to
new crop. To me, that's the number that should really be focused
on. That's a huge reduction," said Karl Setzer, an analyst with
Iowa-based MaxYield Cooperative.
    
      CBOT settlement prices:
                                  Net     Pct  Volume
                         Last  change  change        
 CBOT wheat     WN8    506.50   -4.00    -0.8   74432
 CBOT corn      CN8    402.00   -0.75    -0.2  260216
 CBOT soybeans  SN8   1021.25    5.50     0.5  124901
 CBOT soymeal   SMN8   386.10    0.30     0.1   56336
 CBOT soyoil    BON8    31.13    0.10     0.3   42462
    NOTE: CBOT July wheat, corn and soybeans shown in cents per
bushel, soymeal in dollars per short ton and soyoil in cents per
lb.

 (Additional reporting by Nigel Hunt and Naveen Thukral; Editing
by Sherry Jacob-Phillips, Mark Potter and Jeffrey Benkoe)
  
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