Crop Prices Trade Sideways Ahead of Harvest Data

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Grain and soybean futures were mixed Wednesday as traders positioned ahead of a new round of harvest projections.

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Market participants braced for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to forecast larger corn supplies while trimming oilseed estimates in a monthly report due Thursday at noon EST.

Corn futures traded lower much of Wednesday's session before turning higher, despite expectations this year's harvest would produce more grain than initially thought.

Jason Britt, president of Central States Commodities, said the large net short position held by hedge funds in the corn market limited the potential for further losses even if supplies were growing. The odds of a rally as those funds got out of their positions was higher, he said.

December corn futures rose 0.1% to $3.48 1/4 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade.

The USDA will likely put this season's corn harvest at 14.323 billion bushels, up from 14.28 billion a month earlier, according to a survey of analysts by The Wall Street Journal. That is based on a yield of 172.3 bushels per acre, compared with 171.8 in October. Domestic stockpiles for 2017-18 will also rise, according to the estimates.

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Soybean futures were also higher. CBOT November oilseed contracts climbed 0.2% to $9.88 a bushel.

Shrinking soybean production estimates should help ease concerns about oversupply, traders said. Analysts expect USDA to cut its soybean production forecast to 4.404 billion bushels from 4.431 billion in October, while lowering yields to 49.2 bushels per acre from 49.5 in October.

Wheat futures fell. December contracts slid 0.1% to $4.26 3/4 a bushel.

The market has been under particular pressure because of large global supplies. Bumper harvests in countries such as Russia are claiming a larger share of export business from important consumers in the Middle East and North Africa.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 08, 2017 16:02 ET (21:02 GMT)