GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

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Disappointing Exports Pressure Corn, Soybean Futures

Corn futures sank to new lows Thursday as underwhelming export sales pressured grain-and-oilseed prices.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that exporters sold 954,500 metric tons of corn in the week ended Nov. 9, along with 1.177 million tons of soybeans. Both were at the low end of the range of pre-report analyst estimates. Soybean oil sales of 2,700 tons fell well below expectations.

Could Algeria Catch West Africa's Taste for Black Sea Wheat? -- Market Talk

1558 GMT - "There aren't many more markets for Russia to conquer... although Algeria would be one more big potential one," says Swithun Still, director of Solaris Commodities at the Global Grain conference in Geneva. Discussing the growing market share of Black Sea wheat, Mr. Still references Algeria's 0.1% bug damage limit as one factor stymying Russian progress in the region. Pointing to Russian gains in West Africa after a weak French yield last year, he says those countries "haven't looked back," adding: "The French can call their wheat 'superieur' but it's not." (david.hodari@wsj.com; @davidhodari)

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STORIES OF INTEREST:

Russian Wheat Exports Likely Undented By Potential Smaller Yield -- Market Talk

1554 GMT - After two record breaking wheat production years for Russia, "it is highly unlikely we'll see that amount of crop production [in 2018]," says Stefan Voge, Rabobank's head of agri commodities research Stefan Vogel. Speaking to WSJ at the Global Grain conference in Geneva, Mr. Vogel says that after those two huge yield years, the country's planted areas have "increased only slightly." When asked whether a smaller production yield might put pressure on exports, he says: "there's still a lot of inventory from this season to keep Russian exports at a high level." Russia "will still be one of the cheapest out there." Freight costs have increased a little, "but its still very competitive". (david.hodari@wsj.com; @davidhodari)

Grains Prices Stuck Low For Now -- Rabobank -- Market Talk

1547 GMT - Speaking at the Global Grain Conference in Geneva, Rabobank's head of agri commodities research Stefan Vogel tells the WSJ that grain prices look unlikely to shake off their current weakness. "If you look at the past ten months in 2017 we've seen every commodity price - except for spring wheat - declining in value," Mr. Vogel says. As for factors to potentially buoy prices, "I don't think there's a very strong opinion right now that will double prices quickly." However, he highlights weather as a potential risk factor. "The last big La Nina in 2012 saw the worst US droughts in a very long time. I'm not saying this is happening but it is a risk." Without weather problems market consensus is that prices don't have much further, he says. (david.hodari@wsj.com; @davidhodari)

Brazilian Soybean Exports to China 'Can't Rise Forever' -- Market Talk

1509 GMT - With Chinese imports of soybeans from Brazil having shot up in recent years, "can [Brazil] sustain its pace of exports to China--can they keep growing?" asks Pedro Dejneka, co-founder of consultancy MD Commodities. "In the history of financial markets, never has something like this gone up forever--maybe the pace of growth can't keep up," he adds, speaking at the Global Grains conference in Geneva. If Chinese demand does sag--as it may do with the country's post-one-child-policy demographic shift--"Brazil wont aggressively cut soybean area. The U.S. will," Mr. Dejneka says. As for current heavy production, he adds, "[the price of soybeans] is trying to fight its way out of quicksand and it might sink deeper. The only cure for low prices, are even lower prices." (david.hodari@wsj.com; @davidhodari)

THE MARKETS:

Cattle Futures Sink Ahead of Report

Cattle futures fell on Thursday, giving back the previous session's gains as traders looked ahead to a government supply report.

December live cattle futures fell 0.5% to $1.1955 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Prices have closed within a cent of $1.20 every session this week.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 16, 2017 17:39 ET (22:39 GMT)