Grain, Soybean Futures Mixed Ahead of Harvest Report

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Grain and soybean futures were mixed as traders prepared for updated government harvest forecasts.

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A stronger dollar, rebounding from a 2 1/2-year low last week, also put pressure on the market, making U.S. crops less attractive to exporters. The WSJ dollar index rose 0.6% to 84.98.

That added to pressure on U.S. crops, with soybeans in particular falling despite existing export demand. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Monday that private exporters reported sales of 352,000 metric tons of soybeans to unknown destinations for 2017-18.

Traders, however, were mostly focused on positioning for USDA's monthly supply-and-demand report on Tuesday at midday EDT, which will include estimates for this season's U.S. harvest.

Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect the agency to forecast corn production at 14 billion bushels, down from its August forecast of 14.15 billion, along with soybean production of 4.32 billion bushels, revised lower from 4.38 billion a month earlier.

That's based on anticipated yield estimates of 48.7 bushels per acre for soybeans and 167.8 bushels for corn.

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The agency shocked many market participants with larger-than-expected crop forecasts in August, and traders are now looking to see whether the agency revises lower its estimates in order to account for less-than-ideal growing conditions this season. But analysts expect any reductions to be conservative, with more substantial changes not likely until October.

"The main thing is that fund managers want to know if the worst of the bearish supply news is behind us, or are these crops still getting bigger," said Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist at INTL FCStone in Kansas City, Mo.

Most-active corn futures for December delivery rose 0.2% to $3.57 1/2 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade. CBOT November soybeans fell 0.2% to $9.60 a bushel while December wheat contracts dropped 0.7% to $4.34 3/4 a bushel.

Analysts expect to see corn and soybean condition steady to lower from a week earlier in a separate USDA report released at 4 p.m. EDT Monday.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 11, 2017 15:23 ET (19:23 GMT)