Grain futures mixed, soybeans decline on favorable weather in South America

Grain futures were mixed on Monday with wheat and corn advancing while soybeans declined as weather forecasts predicted favorable weather in Brazil and Argentina to aid crop developing.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, soybeans futures for settlement in January fell by 0.31% to $13.1488 per bushel by 14:50 GMT. Prices held in range between days high of $13.1938, near Fridays two-month high of $13.2138 a bushel, and days low at $13.1213. The oilseed rose by 2.1% on Friday, the most since November 8, and settled the week 3.1% higher.

Soybeans fell on expectations that crops in Brazil and Argentina will benefit from adequate soil moisture. DTN reported on November 22 that episodes of scattered thunderstorms in Brazil will maintain normal to surplus soil moisture for early development of corn and soybeans, while causing some delays to planting. In Argentina, scattered rains and cooler weather was expected to redevelop early this week after a recent drier and warmer trend, the agency reported.

Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, said in a report, cited by Bloomberg: “Favorable weather forecasts for Brazil and Argentina are shifting the focus back to the forthcoming supply from South America, which is thought to be very high. Once this supply becomes available from February, prices should decline noticeably.”

According to data by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, production in Brazil is set to surge to a record 88 million tons in the 2013-2014 season, while Argentinas output may jump by 8.5% to 53.5 million tons.

Corn futures for settlement in March rose to a 1-1/2-week high of $4.3213 per bushel by 14:44 GMT, up 0.63%, while days low stood at $4.2913. The grain rose by 1.5% on Friday and settled the week 0.4% higher.

The USDA said in its crop progress report last Monday that the U.S. corn harvest accelerated by 7% in the preceding week and remained above the average. As of November 17, 91% of the crop was collected, compared to the five-year average of 86% and last year’s 99% during the comparable period. Meanwhile, U.S. farmers had collected 95% of the soybean crop as of November 17, near the five-year average of 96% and slightly below last year’s 98% during the comparable week.

Also fanning negative sentiment for corn and soybeans, DTN reported on Friday that very low temperatures in the Midwest will firm the ground, favoring the final harvesting effort in the region. In South Africa, scattered showers and thundershowers continued to provide adequate soil moisture for early planted corn and sugarcane across most of the Maize Triangle region, the agency said.

Wheat advances

Wheat futures rose on Monday on outlook for unfavorable weather across most of the U.S. growing areas. Wheat for delivery in March traded at $6.6138 per bushel at 14:46 GMT, up 0.67% on the day. Prices surged to a three-week high of $6.6238 a bushel, while days low stood at $6.5625. The grain was mostly unchanged on Friday and settled the week 0.8% higher after falling by 3.5% in the preceding two weeks.

DTN reported on November 22 that winter-type precipitation in the Southern Plains will recharge soil moisture for winter wheat but low temperatures will slow development of the crop. Rain early this week in the Delta will also provide adequate soil moisture but cause delays to field work.

In Central China, recent rainfall favored the winter wheat and rapeseed crop ahead of winter dormancy but colder weather in the next 10 days will slow the development of wheat, DTN said.

The USDA reported last Monday that 89% of the plants had emerged as of November 17, surpassing the five-year average of 85% and last year’s 83% during the comparable week. A deterioration in crop conditions however supported. Seven percent of the wheat crop was categorized as “Very poor” and “Poor” as of November 17, up from 5% a week earlier. As for the premium grade, 62% of the plants were rated good-excellent, down from 65% in the preceding period.

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