May 30, 2014
US wheat fell on Wednesday, extending a week-long decline on investment fund selling tied to favourable conditions for crops in the world’s top producer and exporter. Cheaper grain offered from shippers in Europe and the Black Sea region also weighed on futures for US wheat. Corn was slightly higher but hovering near a three-month low while nearby soyabean contracts also posted narrow gains as futures rebounded after large declines on Tuesday.
Trading volumes spiked in the previous session while open interest in grains futures declined, suggesting liquidation of long bullish bets by investors. The volume moves came after US regulatory data last week showed that speculative traders, a category that includes hedge funds, reduced long holdings in corn and soyabeans and switched to a net short in wheat futures.
“Much of what we are seeing is simple position squaring by the funds ahead of month end. Fresh news is very limited for trade to work with, limiting trader interest,” said Karl Setzer, analyst at the MaxYield Co-operative in West Bend, Iowa. With two trading days left in May, wheat futures were on pace to decline more than 10 percent for the month – their worst monthly performance since September 2011. Corn was heading for their largest monthly since September of last year and soyabeans the largest decline since January of 2014.
The big drop in prices generated modest buying interest, with wheat having its smallest daily drop during its recent six-session streak of losses while corn and soyabeans pared earlier losses. “It got oversold and not a lot of guys want to sell into a hole like this,” said Chris Manns, analyst at the Traders Group in Chicago. CBOT July wheat finished 2-1/4 cents lower at $6.38-3/4 per bushel while CBOT July corn gained 2-3/4 cents to $4.72-1/2 and July soyabeans jumped 9 cents to $14.97-3/4. “The better weather conditions in the US were the main reason why corn, wheat and cotton prices dropped to three-month lows in recent days,” Commerzbank said in a report. “The soyabean price, on the other hand, is still being helped by the currently tight supply situation in the US, where stocks have declined sharply as a result of high exports.”
The US Department of Agriculture said in its weekly crop report that US winter wheat was rated 31 percent good to excellent as of May 25, up 2 percentage points from a week earlier. The USDA also said that corn planting was 88 percent complete as of May 25, matching analysts’ expectations as well as the five-year average. “Planting progress is significantly better and forecasts show that the weather is likely to be favourable for crop development,” said Vyanne Lai, of National Australia Bank.