Grain futures - Weekly outlook: February 18 - 22

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Investing.com - U.S. grain futures regained strength on Friday, with wheat prices moving further away from a seven-month low hit earlier in the week as traders closed out bets prices would move lower after futures moved into oversold territory.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, wheat for March delivery jumped 1.3% on Friday to settle the week at USD7.4200 a bushel. Despite Friday's gains, the March wheat contract lost 1.85% last week, the fourth consecutive weekly decline.

Wheat prices moved higher Friday boosted by technical buying and position-squaring ahead of the long holiday weekend. U.S. grain markets will be closed on Monday for the President's Day holiday.

Prices of the grain fell to a seven-month low of USD7.2287 a bushel on February 13, as concerns over crop conditions in the U.S. Great Plains eased after rain and snow fell in the drought-stricken region.

Wheat traders have been closely monitoring weather and crop conditions in the area, where prolonged dryness threatens now-dormant winter wheat crops.

Sentiment on the grain has been downbeat following the release of the U.S. government's bearish crop forecast earlier in the month, which said global wheat inventories at the end of the year will be 176.73 million metric tons, up from the month-earlier estimate of 176.64 million

Elsewhere on the Chicago Board of Trade, corn futures for March delivery added 0.35% Friday to settle the week at USD6.9788 a bushel. The March corn contract lost 1.7% on the week, the second consecutive weekly drop.

Corn prices fell to a five-week low of USD6.8737 a bushel on February 13, as market players remained hesitant to open fresh long positions amid a weak technical picture.

Corn futures have been on a downward trend since the USDA said earlier in February that U.S. stockpiles before the next harvest will be 5% larger than forecast a month ago. The upward revision reflected slowing demand for U.S. supplies.

The data also showed that global inventories of the grain on October 1 will be 118.04 million tons, up from 115.99 million predicted a month earlier.

Meanwhile, soybeans for March delivery rose 0.55% Friday to settle at USD14.2550 a bushel by close of trade. Despite Friday's gains, the March soy contract lost 1.9% on the week, the second straight weekly decline.

Soybean futures fell to a five-week low of USD14.0462 a bushel on February 13, after forecasts called for improving weather in key growing regions of South America.

The USDA said earlier in the month that Brazil will harvest a record 83.5 million tonnes of soybeans this spring, on pace to pass the U.S. as the top producer for the first time.

Combined soybean production in Brazil and Argentina will rise 28% to a record 136.5 million

Sentiment on the grain has been bearish after the USDA forecast larger-than-expected inventories of the oilseed.

In the week ahead, corn and soybean traders will continue to pay close attention to weather forecasts for grain-growing regions in Brazil and Argentina, while wheat traders will monitor temperatures in the Great Plains-region.

Market players will also focus on the USDA's weekly exports data on Thursday.

Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, followed by soybeans, government figures show. Wheat was fourth, behind hay.

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