Corn futures bounced back from a two-month low, supported by
Chinese demand, while soybean futures extended losses, as energy markets slide.
"Tumbling crude oil prices continue to put pressure on
oilseeds and wider commodity markets," said CRM AgriCommodities.
The sell-off in oil futures continues, with March Brent down
0.8% on the day as US markets closed, at $50.92 a barrel.
Crude oil prices are plummeting, down 9.0% in a week, under
pressure from the very large US stocks and production figures.
And Saudi Arabia on Tuesday was reported to have lifted production
back above 10m barrels, after railing at "free riders," non-Opec members who
are benefiting from Opec supply discipline.
Good South American
And there was little support from other quarters, as a survey
by broker Allendale suggested even bigger than expected US sowings.
"There is a lack of fresh news," said Ridge Erdmann at CHS Hedging.
"South American weather looks both favorable for harvest
progress and crop development for the remaining soybean crop," Mr Erdman said.
May soybean futures settled down 0.7%, at $9.99 ¼ a bushel, having
reached five-month lows of $9.92 a bushel.
China buys big in
Reports from traders suggest that at least three cargoes of
US corn, totalling about 195,000
tonnes, for shipment from the West Coast.
This would be the largest one-time purchase of US corn by
China since 2013.
And some rumours have ranged even higher, up to 500,000
China is still holding massive corn reserves, but as Agrimony
has reported, supplies of high quality corn are still tight.
South American corn
coming to market soon
Darrell Holaday, at Country Futures, said the news as an "interesting
development", but added he was "not sure it is a long-term signal".
"There will be a lot of corn available in South America in
the next 4 months."
But there was more export support, as the US Department of
Agriculture reported the sales of 120,000 tonnes of US corn to Mexico for delivery
May corn futures settled up 0.4%, at $3.62 ¼ a bushel.
Dryness fears still
in place over Plains
May Chicago wheat
futures edged higher, as markets continue to watch the US Plains.
"Very limited precipitation and warm temperatures in the
Plains have allowed moisture supplies to decline rapidly," said Don Keeney, at
MDA Weather Services.
"A few showers should return to the region in the 6-10 day
period, with some improvements expected mainly in central and eastern Nebraska,
eastern Kansas, and eastern Oklahoma," Mr Keeney said.
"Showers are also expected in west central areas, but
amounts there will likely be too light to significantly improve conditions," he
"The region will need a significant upturn in showers in
April to prevent notable stress on wheat as it emerges from dormancy," Mr
Keeney said. "However, our outlook for April remains rather dry."
May Chicago wheat futures finished up 0.1%, at $4.30 ½ a
Cocoa futures bounce
Technical selling, and ideas that poor quality will slow
port arrivals, helped cocoa futures
extend the rally of the previous session.
Reuters reports that cocoa exporters in Cote D'Ivoire expect
the pace of port arrivals to halve from next week, and to remain at a low level
until May or June, due to recent dry weather.
"Both New York and London are showing signs that a bottom
has been made and that prices can move higher in the short term," said Jack
Scoville, at Price Futures Group.
"Demand has been weak, but might start to improve soon as
prices for Cocoa and products have turned much lower," he said.
May New York cocoa futures settled up 2.0%, at $2,058 a
Battle over 18 cent
Sucden Financial said that in the global sugar season starting in October 2017-18 the
sugar market could see a 1-2m tonne surplus, after two years of deficit.
But prices remain moribund, after a significant sell-off
broke momentum last week.
"The market is engaged in the 'battle of 18 cents,' with
momentum investors appearing to have decided to sell sugar," said Tobin Gorey
at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
May raw sugar futures settled down 0.1%, at 18.16 cents a
Chinese cotton quality
futures moved higher, after an auction of Chinese stocks attracted little
buying interest, with only 76% sold.
After Monday's auction sold similar levels, Mr Gorey said
that buying might be low due to the low quality of stocks offered.
"We've long been suspicious of the quality of China's cotton
reserve," Mr Gorey said.
"We had though expected that it wouldn't be until later in
the year that the quality factor started to slow the release of stocks onto the
May cotton futures finished up 0.4%, at 77.15 cents a pound.