Wheat hits 4-month low
CHICAGO — U.S. wheat futures slid to a four-month low on Tuesday as the country’s advancing harvest increased supplies, while soybean futures dropped on better-than-expected U.S. crop conditions.
Weather conditions are expected to improve for the wheat harvest in the U.S. Plains after recent rains slowed progress.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a weekly crop report on Monday that harvest was 33 percent complete, despite some rain delays. That topped analyst estimates for 28 percent and the five-year average of 31 percent.
Front-month wheat futures closed down 1.5 percent, or 8-3/4 cents, to $5.70-1/2 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. The contract earlier hit $5.70, the lowest since Feb. 7.
Traders are expected to adjust positions in the markets before the USDA on June 30 issues separate estimates for crop plantings and grain stocks as of June 1.
The USDA will likely increase its estimate for corn seedings by 0.04 percent from March to 91.725 million acres and its estimate for soybean seedings by 0.8 percent to 82.154 million, according to a Reuters survey of analysts.
“The market knows there is a lot of corn coming and that will set a lower tone for prices as we head toward harvest,” said Kayla Burkhart, broker for SunPrairie Grain in North Dakota.
Condition ratings for corn and soy are expected to be steady or improve next week owing to favorable weather.