Wheat Futures Tumble to Multiweek Low

Wheat futures extended losses from last week, falling to a six-week low.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated Friday that American farmers planted 32.6 million acres of wheat for 2018, the least acreage in over a century but more than analysts were expecting. That, along with larger domestic stockpile forecasts, prompted a selloff as traders bet the wheat market would continue oversupplied.

The wheat stocks-to-consumption ratio would rise this year as a result, said Capital Economics in a note, putting it far above the 10-year average.

"This should keep wheat prices subdued in the near term," the consultancy said.

Wheat futures for March delivery fell 1% to $4.16 1/2 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade, closing at the lowest point since Dec. 4.

Corn and soybean futures rose Tuesday. CBOT March corn contracts gained 0.6% to $3.48 1/4 a bushel while March soybeans rose 0.8% to $9.68 a bushel.

The soybean market in particular got a boost from the USDA late last week after the agency trimmed its production estimate from the recent U.S. harvest.

Some signs of healthy domestic demand also helped prices. The National Oilseed Processors Association said Tuesday its members crushed a record 166.4 million bushels of soybeans in December, according to market observers.

But soybean farmers were also contending with weaker international business. The USDA last week trimmed its oilseed export forecast by 65 million bushels to 2.16 billion bushels, and analysts said that figure could fall further if the pace of sales continues to lag previous years.

Friday's figures contributed to a "relief" rally, said Richard Feltes of brokerage R.J. O'Brien. But longer term the "soy market must consider reality that 2018 S American soy crop is edging higher and that 2017-18 U.S. soy exports are still overstated," he said in a note to clients.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

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