April 23, 2018 / 3:28 AM / a year ago

GRAINS-Wheat rebounds as patchy U.S. rains bring only limited relief

    * Chicago wheat futures rise after Friday's deep losses
    * Rains expected to marginally improve drought-hit U.S. crop

 (Adds comment, detail)
    By Naveen Thukral
    SINGAPORE, April 23 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat rose on
Monday, with prices underpinned by patchy rains bringing only
limited relief to the drought-hit U.S. winter crop. 
    Soybeans gained ground following two sessions of falls on
expectations that U.S. farmers will boost planting in the weeks
ahead with forecasts for warm and dry weather, while corn prices
rose around half a percent.
    The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade
 had gained 0.8 percent to $4.81-1/4 a bushel by 0302 GMT,
after earlier hitting its lowest since April 9 at $4.75. Wheat
closed the previous session down 2.8 percent.
    Soybeans were up 0.3 percent at $10.43-1/4 a bushel,
after ending down 0.8 percent on Friday, and corn gained
0.6 percent to $3.78-3/4 a bushel, having ended the previous
session down more than 3 percent. 
    Wheat had come under sustained pressure last week as
forecasts for widespread rains eased fears about potential yield
losses after dry weather across key producing regions. 
    But patchy rain over the weekend failed to deliver
widespread relief to crops.
    "The weekend storm coverage was erratic. The heaviest rain
was largely in the areas that needed it least," said Tobin
Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of
    "Some of the driest areas though did get some useful rain. 
Weather forecasters, looking further ahead, do not expect much
follow up in those dry regions."
    Spring wheat, corn and soybean prices are likely to face
pressure as warm and dry weather results in a rapid pace of
planting in the United States.
    Concerns about a trade spat with China threatening U.S.
exports also set a bearish tone across the agricultural sector.
    Several ships carrying cargoes of sorghum from the United
States to China have changed course since Beijing imposed hefty
anti-dumping deposits on U.S. imports of the grain, trade
sources and a Reuters analysis of export and shipping data
    Large speculators cut their net long position in CBOT corn
futures in the week to April 17, regulatory data released on
Friday showed.
    The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's weekly
commitments of traders report also showed that noncommercial
traders, a category that includes hedge funds, increased their
net short position in CBOT wheat and raised their net long
position in soybeans.
 Grains prices at  0302 GMT
 Contract    Last     Change   Pct chg  Two-day chg  MA 30    RSI
 CBOT wheat  481.25   4.00     +0.84%   -1.94%       481.22   45
 CBOT corn   378.75   2.25     +0.60%   -0.85%       382.92   36
 CBOT soy    1043.25  3.00     +0.29%   -0.52%       1048.15  40
 CBOT rice   12.96    -$0.04   -0.27%   -0.96%       $12.59   58
 WTI crude   68.24    -$0.16   -0.23%   -0.07%       $64.64   71
 Euro/dlr    $1.227   -$0.001  -0.10%   -0.57%                
 USD/AUD     0.7676   0.000    +0.05%   -0.67%                
 Most active contracts
 Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per
 RSI 14, exponential

 (Reporting by Naveen Thukral
Editing by Joseph Radford)
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