Corn futures bounced as traders played that market against falling soybean prices.
Hedge funds are holding a large net short position in the corn market, while being net long in soybeans. Analysts said they were unwinding those bets on Thursday, selling the oilseed and buying the grain.
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Corn futures for December rose 0.8% to $3.41 3/4 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade. January soybean futures fell 0.7% to $9.85 3/4 a bushel.
Wheat futures were mixed during the session before closing lower. CBOT December contracts fell 1.7% to $4.09 1/4 a bushel.
Analysts said that physical wheat deliveries against the soon-to-expire December contract beat expectations, weighing on the market.
Underwhelming export sales sparked broader pressure in grain and oilseed markets. Analysts are increasingly concerned about the ability of U.S. exporters to keep up with projected soybean exports for this year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that exporters sold 187,400 metric tons of wheat and 599,200 tons of corn in the week ended Nov. 23, both below the range of pre-report estimates. Soybean sales of 942,900 tons were at the low end of expectations.
"Export sales were terrible for soybeans, corn and wheat, and on the light side for soybean meal and soybean oil," said Terry Reilly of Futures International.
Separately, the USDA said that private exporters sold 525,000 metric tons of soybeans to China, 132,000 tons of soybeans to what it called unknown destinations and 110,000 of sorghum to China, all for 2017-18.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 30, 2017 15:53 ET (20:53 GMT)