CANBERRA: Chicago wheat futures rose on Tuesday but remained close to their lowest level since 2020 amid expectations of strong supply and as a rising dollar made US farm exports costlier for importers. Soybean and corn futures inched higher.

The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was up 0.3% at $5.58-1/2 a bushel by 0335 GMT, but prices are still down 11% this year and fell to $5.24 last month, the lowest since August 2020.

“Large supplies of wheat and other grains such as corn are weighing on pricing,” said Andrew Whitelaw at Australian agricultural consultancy Episode 3.

“Heavy exports (of wheat) from Russia are a cause for concern,” he said. “With a lack of new bullish information, we expect pricing to remain relatively flat with bearish overtones.”

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in its first weekly crop progress report of the 2024 growing season rated 56% of the US winter wheat crop in good-to-excellent condition, below an average of trade expectations but still the highest for this time of the year since 2019.

Last week, the USDA said US wheat stocks had risen more than expected, while reporting higher soybean and corn stocks and a likely fall in corn planting.

Russian wheat export prices up

Russian wheat export prices rose for the third week in a row last week, analysts said, and the country was estimated to have exported 4.9 million metric tons in March, the most for any March on record.

The US dollar on Monday and Tuesday reached its highest level against a basket of major currencies since mid-November.

In other crops, CBOT soybeans were up 0.1% at $11.87 a bushel and corn climbed 0.1% to $4.36 a bushel.

Corn and soybeans are, like wheat, near their lowest since 2020 due to plentiful supply, and speculators hold large net short positions. Commodity funds were net sellers of Chicago corn, wheat and soybeans on Monday, traders said.

Ukraine’s grain exports fell to around 5.2 million metric tons in March from 5.8 million tons in February, something blamed on Russian shelling interrupting operations at seaports and Polish protesters’ blocking of land exports.

Brazil’s soybean harvest for the 2023/24 cycle had reached 74% of the planted area as of last Thursday, consultants AgRural said on Monday.


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