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Evening markets: crops ride price roller-coaster

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Grains looked set for a mixed end to a roller-coaster day, which saw prices fall in and out of negative territory as the dollar eased and revived, and oil touched $80 a barrel only to fall back.

A fistful of negative fundamental news occupied traders too. The Canadian Wheat Board said that Canada had managed an average wheat crop despite the late harvest.

Kazakhstan, the Central Asian producer, estimated it had harvested 22.7m tonnes of grain – 34% more than last year.

And, looking longer-term, Egypt, the world's biggest wheat importer, said it was intent on growing more of the grain itself.

Bear points

And the bad news wasn't all for wheat.

Chinese officials, once again, raised hopes for a robust corn crop, defying lower estimates elsewhere.

For soybeans, Celeres forecast Brazil plantings progressing OK, ahead of a crop the South American analysis group believes will come in at a whopping 64.7m tonnes.

What's more, there were reports of increased farmer selling into the revived corn and soybean markets.

And this when the dollar was rebounding a touch from nearly $1.50 against the euro, and so making US exports less competitive.

Harvest delays

Nonetheless, there were some balancing bull points – notably the most delayed corn and soybean harvests since at least 1985, which face further harvest-interrupting rain, and pose a knock-on risk to winter wheat plantings too.

Indeed, wheat at least managed to make it into late deals ahead, with Chicago's December contract up 5.25 cents at $5.23 a bushel, looking for another two-month closing high.

Fund buying and continued short-covering was credited for the rise, which made its way across the Atlantic too.

Paris wheat for November ended up E0.50 at E129.00 a tonne, with London's November feed wheat contract ending £0.75 higher at £102.00 a tonne.

'Simply wants to be bullish'

Corn was not so much in demand, down 0.25 cents at $3.86 a bushel for December delivery, despite the best efforts of Allendale to talk the market up.

"We all know this [corn] market simply wants to be bullish," the Chicago broker said.

"Whether there is solid reason behind that or not does not matter in the near term."

Slipping crude was also a negative for a grain which is a major source of bioethanol, an alternative to oil products in many functions.

Soybeans fared worse, dropping 6.5 cents to $9.89 ¾ a bushel for the November contract.

The US soybean crop is less behind in development, and further ahead in harvesting, than corn, and likely to take preference in farmers' rain-pressed fieldwork windows.

"In contrast to corn, however, soybeans are almost fully matured," Carsten Fitch at Commerzbank said.

"Farmers in the Midwest will make use of the few dry days to harvest the more sensitive soybeans, before the expected rainy weather returns."


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