Wheat drops to 6 1/2-month low
Soft red winter wheat for July delivery, the nearby contract, dropped 13 cents, or 1.9%, to $6.59 1/4 a bushel, its lowest close since Nov. 30. Soft red winter wheat for September delivery, the most actively traded contract, lost 12 1/4 cents, or 1.7%, to $6.95 3/4 at the Chicago Board of Trade.
The harvest dragged down prices because it is bringing in fresh supplies from the fields, analysts said. The market broke ranks with corn and soybean futures, which rose slightly after a steep sell-off last week. The corn and soy markets felt some support from concerns about low inventories, while global supplies of wheat are not overly tight.
"We're really tight on corn, really tight on beans, but there's still plenty of wheat around," said Tim Hannagan, analyst for PFG Best, a brokerage in Chicago.
Traders are following the progress of the harvest as cutting has advanced faster than normal this year due to dryness that reduced output in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Rains are expected to arrive this week, too late to help the crop, and slow cutting.
Traders are keeping an eye on the weather after harsh conditions, including a severe drought in Russia, slashed global output last year. That left some buyers worried about supplies of high-quality wheat that can be milled into flour.
Early results of the harvest in the Plains show the quality of the crop is high and protein levels are "outstanding," according to U.S. Wheat Associates, a trade group. Still, yields are down significantly from last year.
"We've slowed down the pace of harvest, but you've still got that time of year where you keep that price under pressure," said Larry Glenn, broker and analyst at Frontier Ag, a brokerage firm in Kansas.
Corn futures ended almost flat as market struggled to recover from a steep slide last week. The nearby contract is down nearly 12% since reaching an all-time high near $8 a bushel 10 days ago. Most-active CBOT December corn ended up 1/2 cent, or 0.1%, to $6.60 1/2 a bushel.
Soybean futures felt support from tight supply estimates and uncertainty about flooded soybean acreage in the Missouri River Valley, analysts said. Soybeans for November delivery gained 2 1/4 cents, or 0.2%, at $13.35 1/2 a bushel.
July soymeal ended up 0.3% at $350 per short ton, and December soyoil rose 0.2% to 57.36 cents a pound. September rice fell 0.6% to $14.84 per hundredweight. Oats for September delivery stumbled 0.3% to $3.58 a bushel, while ethanol for August delivery rose 0.6% to $2.64 per gallon.
At the Kansas City Board of Trade, hard red winter wheat for September delivery slipped 0.3% to $8.20 a bushel. Hard red spring wheat for September dropped 0.3% to $8.79 a bushel.
-By Tom Polansek, Dow Jones Newswires; 312-341-5780; email@example.com