US corn, wheat slide to near 3-week lows as dollar rises

imageCHICAGO: US wheat and corn futures fell to near three-week lows on Monday as a strong dollar loomed over export demand along with aggressive competition from overseas suppliers, traders said.

Soybeans, which have been underpinned by a tug-of-war for nearby supplies between processors and exporters, turned lower by midday Monday. The soy market was pressured by the selloff in grains and as the US Department of Agriculture reported weekly soy export inspections below a million tonnes for the first time since early October.

“Global wheat stocks are ample, global trade is down and the US is just priced out of the market particularly with the strong dollar,” said Dennis Collins, a market analyst at Chicago advisory Trilateral.

The dollar was firm on Monday – rising to its highest level in more than a week – after Greece late Friday struck a four-month bailout deal with euro zone finance ministers to avoid default.

The strong dollar is also weighing on corn demand, traders and analysts said.

“Export demand has been reasonable but the ethanol grind has been down. So overall demand, while good, hasn’t been extremely robust,” Collins added.

USDA’s outlook conference held in Washington, D.C., last week reminded traders that US grain and oilseeds stocks will be plentiful in the coming year.

By midsession, Chicago Board of Trade March wheat was down 6-1/4 cents, or 1.2 percent, at $ 5.04 a bushel after touching $ 5.03-1/2, its lowest point since Feb. 3.

March corn was down 6-1/4 cents, or 1.6 percent, at $ 3.79, and March soybeans were down 5-1/4 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $ 9.94.

“The US wheat market could break down to below $ 5 this week as it is facing stiff competition from suppliers in Europe, mainly France,” said Kaname Gokon, general manager of research at brokerage Okato Shoji in Tokyo.

The US wheat market endured a run of disappointing export news last week.

Morocco’s grain agency bought European Union wheat in a tender but received no offers in a parallel tender to buy US durum and soft wheat. Earlier in the week, Egypt’s state grain buyer bought 240,000 tonnes of French and Romanian wheat after scrapping a tender for US wheat only, citing high prices.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

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