October 20, 2017 / 5:41 PM / 6 months ago

GRAINS-Corn, soybeans sag under weight of U.S. harvest

 (Recasts throughout; updates prices, adds quotes; changes
byline, dateline, previous PARIS/SINGAPORE)
    By Julie Ingwersen
    CHICAGO, Oct 20 (Reuters) - U.S. corn and soybean futures
fell to their lowest levels in a week on Friday, pressured by
active harvest progress in the heart of the Midwest crop belt,
analysts said.
    The exception to the weak trend was soyoil futures, which
hit their highest in nearly a month on news the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency was backing down on reforms to
the nation's renewable fuel program.
    As of 12:23 p.m. CDT (1723 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade
December corn was down 4 cents at $3.45 per bushel, its
weakest since the Oct. 12 contract low of $3.42-1/2.
    CBOT November soybeans were down 5 cents at $9.81-1/2
a bushel while December soyoil was up 0.32 cent at 34.15
cents per pound. CBOT December wheat was down 3-1/2 cents
at $4.29-1/4 a bushel.
    Corn posted the biggest decline on a percentage basis,
pressured by this week's optimal weather for combines rolling in
the Midwest. However, showers were expected to slow fieldwork in
some areas this weekend.
    "It's been a good harvest week. Everyone is going like crazy
until the rain starts," said Brian Hoops, analyst with Midwest
Market Solutions. 
    "The export business we had yesterday and this morning was
certainly a supportive feature, but not enough to sustain an
up-trending market when you have harvest going on," Hoops said.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture said private exporters in
the last day sold a total of 245,000 tonnes of U.S. corn to
Spain and unknown destinations, along with 198,000 tonnes of
soybeans to China. The USDA had announced another 384,000 tonnes
of soybeans sold to China a day earlier.
    CBOT soyoil futures climbed for a second straight session on
expectations of demand for soy-based biodiesel fuel. The
December contract pushed through its 50-day moving
average and reached 34.47 cents a pound, its highest since Sept.
22, before paring gains.
    The soyoil rally followed news that the EPA will keep volume
mandates for renewable fuel - including corn-based ethanol and
soy-based biodiesel - for next year at or above proposed levels,
reversing a previous move to open the door to cuts.
    CBOT wheat drifted lower in featureless trade, following a
light bounce a day earlier tied to better-than-expected U.S.
export sales data.
    Rallies in wheat have been curbed by the prospect of record
global inventories this season, supported by a record Russian
crop. Consultancy SovEcon Thursday upgraded its forecast for
Russia's 2017/18 wheat exports to 33.9 million tonnes from 32.4
million previously. 
    CBOT prices as of 12:23 p.m. CDT (1723 GMT): 
                        Last     Net     Pct  Volume
                              change  change  
 CBOT wheat     Wc1   429.00   -3.75    -0.9   28799
 CBOT corn      Cc1   345.00   -4.00    -1.2  140140
 CBOT soybeans  Sc1   981.50   -5.00    -0.5  122326
 CBOT soymeal   SMc1  318.10   -3.30    -1.0   46472
 CBOT soyoil    BOc1   34.16    0.33     1.0   55964
    NOTE: CBOT December wheat, December corn and November
soybeans shown in cents per bushel, December soymeal in dollars
per short ton and December soyoil in cents per lb.

 (Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus
Trompiz in Paris; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Cynthia Osterman)
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