Wheat futures are leading the grain futures markets lower in midday dealings Thursday, with losses of around 5 cents. Corn and soybean futures markets are trading fractionally lower on the day.
A strong U.S. dollar on the foreign exchange market today is working against the US grain futures bulls.
Wheat futures are trading not far above their recent contract lows. Warmer and drier weather forecasts for the northern US plains and Canadian prairies, which could prompt better planting progress, are bearish. There is also generally favorable weather occurring in major wheat regions of the world. Weekly USDA export sales data for wheat today leans negative. Wheat sales in the week ended April 11 totaled 317,700 metric tons (MT), up 16% from the prior week but down 28% from the 4-week average.
Corn futures are also trading not far above their recent contract lows. Warmer and slightly drier extended forecasts for the US Corn Belt are bearish for corn, as they have somewhat allayed planting-delay worries. However, forecast rains the next two days and again early next week in the region will keep any planting progress limited. Thursday’s weekly USDA export sales report showed exporters sold 947,600 MT of corn, for the current marketing year, in the latest reporting week. That was above trade estimates and 33% above the prior four-week average. The department also announced sales of 18,400 MT for the 2919-20 marketing year.
Soybean futures dropped to 5.5-month lows today partly on chart-based selling pressure amid firm downtrends in place on the daily bar charts. There are concerns regarding demand for US soybeans amid large crops being harvested in Argentina and Brazil. There were reports this week China bought several loads Brazilian soybeans earlier this week, as well as some soybeans from Argentina. Weekly USDA soybean export sales for the latest week were 382,100 MT in the current marketing year--down 46% from the prior four-week average and with no new Chinese sales. Sales were also light for the new marketing year, at 21,100 MT.
Agricultural markets worldwide are awaiting the conclusion of US-China trade negotiations. The US and China have tentatively scheduled a new round of meetings as they seek to conclude a trade deal, with negotiators hoping for a signing ceremony in late May or early June between presidents of both nations.
US grain futures markets are closed on Friday for the Good Friday Easter holiday.