Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) crop futures closed mixed in the trading week ending on Feb. 15, with wheat and soybeans suffering notable losses due to massive fund selling.
On Thursday alone, CBOT brokers reported that funds sold 11,000 contracts of wheat, 7,000 contracts of corn, and 8,000 contracts of soybeans.
The massive selling was triggered by a weekly export sales report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The data covered the period from Dec. 28, 2018 to Jan. 3, 2019. The report was released on Thursday, well behind schedule, due to the record-long partial government shutdown.
In the report, the USDA confirmed net wheat sales of 131,200 metric tons for 2018/2019 marketing year, down 78 percent from the previous week and 76 percent from the prior four-week average.
Profit taking after four consecutive sessions of rise in wheat prices also contributed to the massive selling, said market watchers.
CBOT wheat prices have fallen to a two-month low this week, under the pressure of foreign competition, said analysts.
The United States sells one third of its wheat to foreign buyers, but despite some highlighted sales to Egypt and Nigeria recently, the export pace has been relatively slow.
The biggest competition is believed to be from Russia and Ukraine. French exporters were also awarded the bulk of a recent Algerian tender. With a strong U.S. dollar, it would be difficult for U.S. crops to beat other cheap wheat supplies.
Not only U.S. wheat, European wheat futures traded in Paris also posted losses this week.
In the same weekly report, the USDA announced net sales reductions of 612,000 metric tons of soybeans, compared with the previous week.
However, CBOT soybeans did not fall as much as the wheat, thanks to the progress made during the latest U.S.-China trade talks.
China and the United States held the sixth round of high-level economic and trade consultations in Beijing from Thursday to Friday.
The two sides reached consensus in principle on major issues and had specific discussions about a memorandum of understanding on bilateral economic and trade issues. Consultations will be continued in Washington next week.
The trade talk progress supported CBOT soybeans, as China has been the top importer of U.S. soybeans.
CBOT corn futures ended this week almost unchanged.
The most active corn for March delivery was up 0.5 cent, or 0.13 percent weekly, to settle at 3.7475 dollars per bushel. March wheat was down 13 cents, or 2.51 percent, to close at 5.0425 dollars. March soybeans were down 7 cents, or 0.77 percent, to settle at 9.075 dollar per bushel. Enditem