Grain, Soybean Futures Start Week Lower

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Grain and soybean futures fell as improving weather in different parts of the Americas weighed down prices.

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Rainfall in Argentina and Brazil over the weekend helped local soybean and corn crops, increasing the likelihood that the continent would produce a large bounty this season. Meanwhile, warmer temperatures in the Plains eased concerns about freeze damage, pressuring wheat prices.

That in turn sparked further selling as traders read chart patterns as signs that prices were headed lower, said Karl Setzer, an analyst at MaxYield Cooperative. The "weakness triggered sell stops which took out technical support, causing losses to build," he said.Traders were looking ahead to a series of crop reports due on Friday. Analysts said much of the week's activity could consist of pre-report positioning, with many expecting those reports to pressure prices by potentially exacerbating a large supply outlook.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a string of export sales on Monday morning, but that did little to bolster crop prices. The agency said that private exporters sold 120,000 metric tons of soybeans to Egypt, 132,000 tons of oilseed to what it called unknown destinations and 102,100 tons of corn to Mexico, all for the 2017-18 crop season.

Lackluster exports have concerned market observers in recent months, and a higher U.S. dollar on Monday added to those worries. A stronger greenback made American crops more expensive against produce from rival exporters like Brazil and Russia, analysts said. U.S. wheat in particular was too expensive, some said, after rallying last week over concerns about freezing weather in the Plains.

March-dated wheat futures slid 0.7% to $4.27 3/4 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade. March corn contracts fell 1.1% to $3.47 1/4 a bushel while January soybean futures dropped 0.3% to $9.58 1/4 a bushel.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 08, 2018 15:58 ET (20:58 GMT)