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Markets

Soy, corn, wheat futures down ahead of USDA data, quarter's end

  • Wheat also declined, with a firmer dollar hanging over the market along with spillover weakness from broad declines in commodities.
Published March 30, 2021 Updated March 31, 2021

CHICAGO: U.S. soy and corn futures fell on Tuesday as traders liquidated positions and booked profits a day ahead of a pair of key reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, analysts said.

Wheat also declined, with a firmer dollar hanging over the market along with spillover weakness from broad declines in commodities.

"Little has changed in the underlying fundamentals today, but money flow is moving out of the sector based on the strong dollar and due to fears over potential surprises in tomorrow's government numbers," Arlan Suderman, StoneX chief commodities economist, wrote in a client note.

As of 12:28 p.m. CDT (1728 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade May soybeans were down 24 cents at $13.69 per bushel, and the November contract, representing the 2021 harvest, fell below $12 a bushel for the first time since Feb. 22.

CBOT May soyoil fell its daily 2.5-cent limit to 50.46 cents per pound, dragged down by declines in allied vegetable oil markets including canola and Malaysian palm oil.

CBOT May corn was down 8 cents at $5.38-3/4 a bushel and May wheat was down 14 cents at $6.02-3/4 a bushel.

Traders were bracing for Wednesday's USDA planting intentions and quarterly grain stocks reports, which have a history of rattling the markets.

Analysts on average expect the USDA to project expanded plantings of U.S. corn and soybeans in 2021 versus last year, while March 1 stocks of corn, soy and wheat are seen as the lowest in several years.

Meanwhile, the dollar rose against major currencies as increasing U.S. vaccinations and plans for a major stimulus package stoked inflation expectations. A firmer dollar tends to make U.S. grains less competitive globally.

CBOT benchmark corn futures were up roughly 11% for the quarter and soybeans were up about 4.5%, encouraging profit-taking at a time when commodity funds hold sizable net long positions in both markets.

Forecasts called for generally favorable weather as spring field work begins in the U.S. Corn Belt.

"Across the Midwest and the Plains, warm and dry weather should allow corn planting to get off to a good start," space technology company Maxar said in a daily weather note.

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