tumbled as hopes for rains eased concerns over drought-hit winter wheat
seedlings in the US, more than offsetting support from continuing jitters over
Ukraine, a major grains exporter.
Precipitation over the weekend for crops in the dry southern
Plains, where hard red winter wheat is grown, actually turned out less than
"A few showers return to the south western Plains, but
amounts and coverage there was quite limited," said Don Keeney at weather
"Thus, no significant improvements in wheat conditions were
(In fact, latest official data on crop condition are
expected later on Monday.)
'More notable rains'
However, the weather service flagged expectations for "more
notable rains" in parts of Kansas and Nebraska midweek.
At broker Country Futures, Darrell Holaday said that "weather
models continue to put moisture in the hard red winter wheat area in the next
week, through next Tuesday, and that has pressured wheat from the run up that
occurred last week".
Benson Quinn Commodities noted that "additionally, drier
regions in the EU and Black Sea regions have seen some beneficial moisture".
Jefferies Bachesaid that a "recent increase in shower activity
has helped to ease stress to winter and spring grains in Ukraine".
And, on the demand side, weekly US wheat exports, as measured
by cargo inspections, were a little soft too last week, at 495,250 tonnes, down
from 712,227 tonnes the previous week.
Wheat tumbled 3.3% to $6.68 ¼ a bushel in Chicago for May
delivery, and by 3.4% to $6.75 ½ a bushel for the better-traded July contract.
A willingness by funds to take profits was also seen as
playing a part, after their return in April to lowering their net long position
in Chicago and Kansas City wheat, after a two month spree of more bullish positioning.
The market has, technically, "struggled with fading upward
momentum and a lack of fundamental support", Benson Quinn Commodities said.
'Premium is being
Nor did it help that fellow grain corn was in poor form, dropping 1.3% to $4.93 ¾ a bushel in Chicago
for July delivery, undermined itself by weather factors, with conditions for
sowings seen improving.
"Expectations of favourable conditions through the next five
days for much of the Corn Belt offered resistance to the corn market," Benson
Quinn Commodities said.
"The trade is looking for corn planting to meet 10-12% on
this afternoon's crop progress report. It seems the trade has a goal of 40% by
the end of April."
Mr Holaday said: "Corn planting has started at a rapid pace
in Illinois and Indiana and we expect it to continue through the end of the
"Some planting delay premium is being pulling out of the
The improved planting hopes were more than a match for a
boost from solid weekly US exports, at 1.60m tonnes last week, up from 1.48m
tonnes the week before.
ground too, undermined by further concerns over demand from China, the top
importer of the oilseed.
RJ O'Brien said it was "hearing more reports of Chinese soy
cargos unable to load, as buyers are unable to open letters of credit, which is
pressurising basis as soybeans back up in ports".
US Commodities also flagged "more reports of Chinese soy
cargoes unable to load".
Meanwhile, weekly US exports continued to decline, hitting
138,777 tonnes, down from 268,429 tonnes the week before.
Soybeans for July dropped 1.0% to $14.87 ¼ a bushel.