Grain, Soybean Futures Trading Mixed

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Grain and soybean futures were mixed Friday as traders positioned ahead of a government supply-and-demand report next week.

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Traders were focused on whether the U.S. Department of Agriculture would lower its previous U.S. crop estimates on Tuesday. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect the agency to trim its corn production estimate to 14 billion bushels, from 14.15 billion in August, while reducing its soybean haul forecast to 4.32 billion bushels from 4.38 billion.

Prereport jostling dominated Friday's trade.

"Everyone appears to be waiting to hear what the USDA says," said Doug Bergman, head of agricultural trading at RCM Alternatives in Chicago.

A weaker dollar, meanwhile, supported grain-and-soybean markets overnight. The WSJ Dollar Index was down 0.24% to 84.49 Friday afternoon, falling to the lowest point in over a year. That helped make U.S. crops more attractive to international buyers and importers.

Weekly export sales data had a limited impact on Friday's trade, with analysts mostly calling them neutral. New crop-year sales of 1.48 million metric tons of corn and 1.52 million tons of soybeans were at the high end of pre-report expectations. Wheat sales of 375,500 tons were at the low end of estimates.

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Meanwhile, traders continued to focus on Hurricane Irma as it approached the U.S. A westward shift in the hurricane's trajectory could send the dregs of the storm as far as southern Illinois and Indiana, according to AgResource, though little threat was expected to crops. Dryness is expected to linger in most of the Midwest for the coming days, potentially stressing crops.

Most-active December corn futures rose 0.4% to $3.56 3/4 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade. Most-active November soybean futures fell 0.7% to $9.62 a bushel. December wheat climbed 0.1% to $4.37 3/4 a bushel.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 08, 2017 15:46 ET (19:46 GMT)