Prices of U.S. soybean futures eased on Wednesday, pressured by a higher U.S. dollar and reduced fund buying in the market. Corn prices gained while wheat was mixed.
Soybeans dropped after jumping to the highest level in nearly two years in the previous session, as buying by investment funds faded. Prices for the oilseeds also were pressured by growing speculation that domestic farmers could switch several million acres from corn to soybeans this year amid adverse weather and better economics for the oilseeds, potentially leading to a larger-than-expected crop.
Still, analysts said swift soybean shipments from Brazil supported the market, stoking anticipation that exporters there will quickly chew through the country’s oilseed supplies, eventually depleting stockpiles and prompting increased demand for U.S. soybeans. Brazil is a major U.S. rival for soybean production and export.
“We are going to have a hot start to the new crop export season in both beans and meal,” said Charlie Sernatinger, head of grains trading at ED&F Man Capital Markets, in an afternoon note to clients, noting that Brazil is on pace to export eight million tons of soybeans in May, which “is way too brisk for them to be an exporter past the middle of September.”
Soybean futures for July, the most actively traded contract, fell 5 cents, or 0.5%, to $10.75 1/4 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade. The U.S. dollar surged on Wednesday afternoon following indications from the Federal Reserve that it was open to the possibility of an interest-rate increase as soon as June.
Corn prices rose to a nearly 10-month high, buoyed by speculation that lost acres of the grain in the eastern Midwest will trim domestic production this year even as demand increases for U.S. supplies. Ongoing worries over the corn crop in Brazil, which has been beset by dry conditions this year, further bolstered prices, with optimism also coming from a government proposal Wednesday to boost the amount of corn-based ethanol that refineries must blend into the nation’s fuel supply.
CBOT July corn climbed 2 1/2 cents, or 0.6%, to $3.99 1/2 a bushel, the highest intraday price since April 21.
Wheat was mixed, with nearby contracts pressured by the higher dollar and concerns that wheat producers in Europe and the Black Sea region could harvest larger crops this year, expanding already abundant world grain supplies.
CBOT July wheat slid 1 3/4 cents, or 0.4%, to $4.80 a bushel. December contracts were flat.
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