Underwhelming Export Sales Pressure Grain, Soybean Futures

Grain and soybean futures were down Friday as export sales fell short of expectations.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said exporters sold a total 903,600 metric tons of soybeans and 200,500 tons of wheat in the week ended Nov. 16, both below the range of pre-report estimates.

Wheat futures fell to the lowest point in more than 10 weeks. December-dated contracts at the Chicago Board of Trade slid 1.7% to $4.15 3/4 a bushel.

CBOT January soybean futures fell 0.4% to $9.93 1/4 a bushel.

Soybean sales were at a low point for the marketing year, said Brian Hoops of Midwest Market Solutions, which began Sept. 1.

Analysts questioned whether the U.S. would be able to export as many soybeans as previously forecast. With Brazil and Argentina due to harvest new crops next year, they say it will become increasingly difficult for exporters to catch up.

Exporters have typically sold 65% of their final shipments by week 11 of the marketing year, said Arlan Suderman of INTL FCStone. This year they have only sold 55% of the USDA's target.

"That pace is unsustainable if we don't soon see sales strengthen notably," Mr. Suderman said.

Corn sales of 1.106 million tons were within the range of expectations, according to the USDA, along with soybean oil sales. Soybean meal sales beat estimates.

CBOT December corn futures fell 0.9% to $3.42 1/4 a bushel.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 24, 2017 14:56 ET (19:56 GMT)