Monday, March 4

Wheat, corn, soy fall on economic concerns as US Midwest harvest nears

Article content

CHICAGO — US wheat futures fell more than 4% and corn and soybeans slipped on Thursday on mounting concerns about a global economic slowdown, analysts said, just as the Midwest crop harvest nears.

Wall Street stocks also slid as data showing that US manufacturing grew steadily in August rattled some investors who worry that a strong economy strengthens the case for the Federal Reserve to keep raising interest rates.

Article content

As of 12:54 pm CDT (1754 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade December wheat was down 35 cents at $7.96-1/2 a bushel. CBOT December corn was down 11 cents at $6.59-1/2 a bushel and November soybeans were down 25-1/4 cents at $13.97-1/4 a bushel.

Article content

Wheat posted the biggest declines on a percentage basis as the US dollar surged, making US grains less competitive globally.

Wheat exports from Russia, the top global supplier, are expected to rise to 4 million tonnes in September from 3.5 million tonnes in August as a bumper crop begins to reach the market, traders and industry analysts said.

Meanwhile, seasonal pressure weighed on corn and soybeans as both crops neared maturity in the US crop belt.

“It’s the time of year when the grains tend to be bearish. In some of these markets, harvest has already started,” said Craig Turner, a grain broker with StoneX.

Fundamental news was relatively thin. The US Department of Agriculture’s weekly export sales report, normally released on Thursdays, was delayed until at least Sept. 15 due to problems with the launch of a new reporting system.

Article content

“Without any kind of major demand driver, the market will sell off along with everything else, stocks and energy,” Turner said.

Traders shrugged off news of fresh US soy sales. The USDA confirmed private sales of 396,000 tonnes of soybeans to unknown destinations, the latest in a series of export deals over the last two weeks.

StoneX raised its forecast of Brazil’s 2022/23 soybean crop to 153.6 million tonnes, from 152.7 million previously. The brokerage expected to release updated US corn and soy crop estimates later on Thursday. (Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore, Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris and Emily Chow in Kuala Lumpur; Editing by Uttaresh.V, Sherry Jacob-Phillips, Shinjini Ganguli and Alexander Smith)