Grain Futures Fall Near Month-Lows

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Grain and soybean futures fell Wednesday ahead of a government supply-and-demand report.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture is due to update its corn and soybean harvest estimates on Thursday at noon EDT. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect the agency to leave its soybean yield estimate largely unchanged at 49.8 bushel per acre, compared with 49.9 bushels in its September report. Analysts expect a corn yield of 169.7 bushels per acre, down slightly from 169.9 bushels in September but nevertheless further evidence of a bumper crop this year.

That's given traders little incentive to place optimistic bets this week, with grain futures in particular falling near month lows on Wednesday.

The USDA also said in a separate report on Tuesday afternoon that the ongoing harvest is progressing more slowly than expected, but the share of both corn and soybean crops rated good or excellent rose from a week earlier. That gave traders further reason to believe crop yields would be high, analysts said.

"Traders are using the latter data as a reason to push corn and wheat back towards contract lows this morning," said Dave Marshall, a farm-marketing adviser at brokerage First Choice Commodities.

December corn futures at the Chicago Board of Trade fell 0.9% to $3.46 a bushel, while December wheat futures fell 0.5% to $4.33 1/4 a bushel. Both were the lowest closing prices since Sept. 14.

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Soybean futures were mixed, finding some support on concerns about weather conditions in Brazil, where dryness has delayed crop planting, and export demand.

The USDA reported a string of export sales on Wednesday morning. Private exporters sold 264,000 metric tons of soybeans to China, along with further sales of 132,000 tons to what the agency called unknown destinations. Exporters also sold 150,000 tons of corn and 104,202 tons of hard red winter wheat to Mexico. All sales were for 2017-18.

Those sales helped limit losses in the soybean market, though buying interest was limited ahead of the agency's supply-and-demand report.

CBOT November soybean futures closed 0.1% lower at $9.65 1/4 a bushel.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 11, 2017 15:41 ET (19:41 GMT)