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Corn and soybeans steady after slide as weather, demand in focus

By Gus Trompiz and Naveen Thukral

PARIS/SINGAPORE, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Chicago corn and soybeans edged higher on Wednesday, bouncing off one-week lows, but prices remained under pressure from improving U.S. weather, economic risks and increasing exports from Ukraine. Wheat also inched up. Consolidation in crude oil and the dollar, which had moved sharply this week on global growth concerns centered on China, encouraged the pause in grains.

The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was up 0.04% at $6.10-1/2 a bushel by 0957 GMT, after hitting its lowest since August 8 earlier in the session. CBOT soybeans were up 0.62% at $13.89-1/2 a bushel, after slipping to their lowest since August 4 on Tuesday. CBOT wheat inched up 0.06% to $8.03-1/4 a bushel. Soybeans drew some support from strength in Malaysian palm oil, which competes with soyoil in food and fuel markets.

Forecasts for rain this week in dry western parts of the U.S. corn and soybean belt have pressured prices, despite a decline in crop conditions last week as reported by the USDA.

"The weather forecasts, favorable to a return of rain, have brought a relaxing factor. However, the state of the crops remains to be monitored," consultancy Agritel said.

Some traders are cautious about a record U.S. soybean yield forecast by the USDA on Friday given mixed growing conditions this summer. Economic risks, underscored by the highest inflation reading in 40 years in Britain, have raised doubts about demand for crops, although traders also see scope for importers to take advantage of lower prices to cover short-term needs. Supply fears related to Russia's invasion of Ukraine have been eased by initial grain shipments under a safe-passage agreement.

"Ukrainian ships are moving out, which is positive for supplies," said one Singapore-based grains trader.

Four more ships have left Ukrainian ports carrying sunflower meal, sunflower oil and corn, Turkey's defence ministry said on Wednesday. Wheat prices have also been curbed by a bumper harvest in Russia, despite uncertainty over how much the country will export this season. Consultancy Sovecon raised its forecast for Russia's 2022 wheat crop to 94.7 million tonnes from 90.9 million tonnes on Tuesday.

Prices at 0957 GMT Last Change Pct End Ytd Pct Move 2021 Move CBOT wheat 803.25 0.50 0.06 770.75 4.22 CBOT corn 610.50 0.25 0.04 593.25 2.91 CBOT soy 1389.50 8.50 0.62 1339.25 3.75 Paris wheat 329.25 -2.75 -0.83 276.75 18.97 Paris maize 323.00 -4.75 -1.45 226.00 42.92 Paris rape 625.50 1.00 0.16 754.00 -17.04 WTI crude oil 86.71 0.18 0.21 75.21 15.29 Euro/dlr 1.02 0.00 0.08 1.1368 -10.47 Most active contracts - Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel, Paris futures in euros per tonne.

(Reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Devika Syamnath)

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