Grain, Soybean Futures Trade Sideways

By FeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Grain and soybean markets were mixed Tuesday as prices hit selling pressure and buying interest dried up.

Wheat futures led losses, with the March-dated contract falling 1% to $4.21 1/2 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade. March corn futures fell 0.2% to $3.51 1/4 a bushel. March soybean contracts rose 0.2% to $9.86 1/4 a bushel.

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Analysts said that soybean traders were consolidating prices around recent levels after several consecutive days of gains. Grain prices, meanwhile, bumped up against resistance as chart patterns signaled to traders that markets were headed lower.

Continued concerns about dryness in Argentina, which is stressing some of the corn and soybeans crops there, have recently supported prices. The weather forecast for the country's corn-and-soybean belt is expected to get warmer and drier over the next two weeks, putting portions of the crops at a higher risk of yield loss.

But the start of the harvest season in neighboring Brazil was tempering worries, as many observers expect to see another large bounty out of the country.

A substantial export sale of corn had a limited effect on prices. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that private exporters sold 256,096 metric tons of corn to what it called unknown destinations for 2017-18. The agency's weekly export sales report was delayed by a day to Friday morning due to the government shutdown.

Some traders are looking ahead to U.S. planting to gauge domestic supplies for the year ahead. Private forecaster Informa Economics on Tuesday lowered its projected corn and soybean acreage, according to market observers, trimming its corn estimate for 2018 to 89.179 million acres and its soybean figure to 91.197 million.

Higher prices for cotton, sorghum and barley could prompt farmers to plant more of those crops at the expense of corn and soybean acreage, said Michael McDougall of ED&F Man Capital Markets Inc.

Write to Benjamin Parkin at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 23, 2018 16:00 ET (21:00 GMT)

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