Wheat and corn slow as US crops and Ukrainian exports are assessed
PARIS/SINGAPORE – Chicago wheat and corn futures fell slightly on Tuesday to return some of their previous day’s gains as investors assessed improving U.S. crop conditions and diplomatic talks on a wartime maritime corridor for Ukrainian grain. Soy was virtually unchanged.
Grain prices were also held back by a cautious mood in broader financial markets following a surprise interest rate hike in Australia.
The most active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was down 0.6% at $10.86-1/2 a bushel at 11:24 GMT. The contract had climbed more than 5% on Monday as reports of Russian strikes on Kyiv and the port of Mykolaiv dampened expectations that a diplomatic deal could be reached to resume maritime shipments of Ukrainian grain.
Turkey is coordinating with Russia and Ukraine to agree on a plan to boost grain exports from Ukrainian ports, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said, a day before Turkish Foreign Minister announced welcomes his Russian counterpart for talks.
However, prospects for a breakthrough looked uncertain as fighting continued in Ukraine, and Moscow and Kyiv blamed each other for disrupting global food supplies.
“There is therefore no quick fix to the problem in sight,” Commerzbank said in a note. CBOT corn fell 0.3% to $7.40 a bushel, after rising 2% in the previous session.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Monday rated 73% of the U.S. corn crop as good to excellent in its first status ratings for the 2022 crop, above the average estimate of 68% in a Reuters analyst poll.
U.S. farmers were nearing the end of corn planting after catching up on initial delays due to cold, wet weather.
The USDA also raised its rating slightly for drought-hit U.S. winter wheat as farmers begin harvesting the crop. However, spring wheat and soybean plantings lagged behind the usual pace.
CBOT soybeans edged down 0.06% to $16.98-1/4 a bushel. Soybeans were capped by lower-than-expected weekly U.S. export inspection numbers released on Monday.
(Reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore, Editing by Uttaresh.V and Mark Potter)