Grains Fall Amid Currency Swings; Soybeans Gain

By Jesse Newman Features Dow Jones Newswires

Grain futures dropped Friday amid gains in the U.S. dollar and the advancing fall harvest. Soybeans rose.

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Prices for corn and wheat fell for the third-consecutive session, pressured in part by a recent surge in the dollar and ongoing reports from U.S. farmers of strong corn yields. Earlier in the year, grain analysts thought the nation's crop would suffer from late spring planting and adverse weather during the growing season, but field reports now are aligning with federal forecasts estimating the second-largest corn harvest on record.

"Yields are better than expected," said Kurt Koester, president of Iowa-based brokerage AgriSource Inc. "We're throwing out everything we thought we knew."

Still, Mr. Koester said corn prices could be reaching a bottom, since low prices have triggered a recent uptick in export business, which boosts the market.

"When nearby corn trades under $3.50 [a bushel], the export market comes alive," said Mr. Koester. "Foreign buyers are realizing it may not go lower so it's time to be loading the boats."

Corn futures for December delivery fell 1 3/4 cents, or 0.5%, to $3.48 3/4 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade. December wheat slid 4 1/2 cents, or 1%, to $4.27 1/4 a bushel, weighed down by a drop in Russia's currency, which encouraged farmers in the Black Sea region to sell their crops.

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Soybean prices rebounded from losses posted on Thursday, thanks in part to optimism over export sales. The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday said exporters had sold 238,000 metric tons of soybeans to China for the 2017-18 crop year. The sizeable sale comes on the heels of surprisingly robust weekly export sales data released by the government earlier in the week.

However, gains in the oilseed market were limited by declines in Brazil's currency, which could translate into increased soybean exports from Brazil, the main U.S. competitor on the global market. A busy harvest week in the U.S. Midwest also kept soybean prices in check as farmers are expected to bring in a record haul of the oilseeds this year.

CBOT November soybeans rose four cents, or 0.4%, to $9.75 1/4 a bushel.

Write to Jesse Newman at jesse.newman@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 27, 2017 15:31 ET (19:31 GMT)