Investing.com - U.S. grain futures ended Friday's session mixed,
with wheat and corn prices both surging nearly 2% following the
release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's closely-watched
monthly report on U.S. and global grain supplies.
On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, wheat for March delivery jumped
1.85% Friday to settle the week at USD7.5788 a bushel. Earlier in
the day, prices rose to a session high of USD7.7175 a bushel, the
strongest level since January 2.
On the week, the March wheat contract rose 1.2%, the first weekly
gain in six weeks.
Wheat future prices rallied after the USDA cut its forecasts for
U.S. wheat reserves at the end of the crop's current marketing year
on May 31 to a four-year low of 716 million bushels, 5% lower than
the agency's December estimate.
Government data also showed that U.S. farmers planted 41.82 million
acres of wheat, 2% below analysts' expectations.
Wheat prices fell to a six-month low of USD7.3638 a bushel earlier
Friday, as investors readjusted positions ahead of the USDA report
amid speculation the agency would not cut supplies as much as
Elsewhere on the Chicago Board of Trade, corn futures for March
delivery climbed 1.5% Friday to settle the week at USD7.0925 a
bushel. Earlier in the day, corn futures rose to USD7.2338 a
bushel, the highest level since December 18.
The March corn contract rallied 4.1% on the week, the first weekly
advance in six weeks and the biggest weekly gain since July.
Corn prices rallied as much as 3.7% on Friday after the USDA pegged
the U.S. corn stockpile on December 1 at 8.03 billion bushels, down
17% from a year earlier and the smallest for that date since 2003.
Inventories at the end of the crop's marketing year on August 31
were projected to total 602 million bushels, a 17-year low
The U.S. corn harvest will total 10.78 billion bushels, down from
12.36 billion collected in 2011 and the lowest in six years.
Corn prices have been under heavy selling pressure in recent weeks,
with prices falling to a six-month low last week, as worries over
slowing overseas demand for supplies from the U.S. have weighed on
Meanwhile, soybeans for March delivery shed 0.25% Friday to settle
at USD13.7588 a bushel by close of trade. The March contract fell
to a low of USD13.5262 a bushel earlier in the day, the cheapest
level since June 5.
Despite Friday's losses, soy futures ended the week with a gain of
0.75%, the first weekly advance in four.
The USDA estimated that U.S. farmers will harvest 3.015 billion
bushels of soybeans in the current marketing year, up 1.5% from a
previous estimate, but still the smallest in five years.
The government also forecast ending domestic soybean stocks on
August 31 at 135 million bushels, 3.8% higher than the agency's
projection in December.
Expectations for bumper crops in major South American soy growers
also added to the selling pressure. The USDA said Brazil will
harvest a record 82.5 million tonnes of soybeans this spring.
World production will total 269.41 million tons in the current
marketing year, more than the 267.72 million forecast in December.
In the previous season, global output totaled 238.73 million tons.
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 crop progress
report on Monday as well as Thursday's weekly exports data.
Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, followed by soybeans, government
figures show. Wheat was fourth, behind hay.
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