Grain, Soybean Futures Climb Ahead of Dry Weekend

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Grain and soybean futures mostly inched higher ahead of the weekend as traders refocused on weather problems.

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Expectations earlier this week that some of the dryness and heat that stressed crops so far this growing season were easing prompted selling. But prices did a U-turn after less rain fell than expected.

Dryness was likely to persist over the next week in parts of Illinois, Iowa and Missouri, said MDA Weather Services on Friday, though temperatures should be mild. A lack of rain going into August could cause greater harm to the soybean crop, which is entering its critical yield-forming phase, analysts said.

Wheat futures initially led gains, buoyed by prospects of a smaller spring wheat harvest in the northern Plains. Crop scouts who wrapped up a tour through the Dakotas on Thursday forecast a yield of 38.1 bushels per acre, below last year and the five-year average.

Participants on the tour didn't estimate abandonment as a result of the drought in the region. That meant yields were likely to fall even further, said Brian Hoops, president of brokerage Midwest Market Solutions in Springfield, Mo.

Grain and oilseed futures ultimately gave back some gains from earlier in Friday's session, and still closed lower for the week.

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September-dated spring wheat futures at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange rose 0.5% to $7.40 1/2 a bushel, while soft red winter wheat future at the Chicago Board of Trade rose 0.3% to $4.81 a bushel. CBOT September corn futures were steady at $3.74 1/4 a bushel.

Soybean oil prices got a boost after a U.S. appeals court ruled against the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to reduce renewable fuel quotas. Analysts said that strengthened soybean futures, with CBOT August contracts closing 0.6% to $10.00 3/4 a bushel.

Write to Benjamin Parkin at benjamin.parkin@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 28, 2017 15:28 ET (19:28 GMT)