By Kirk Maltais

 

--Soybeans for March delivery fell 2.2% to $13.85 3/4 a bushel, on the Chicago Board of Trade Tuesday, with managed money funds extending their selling of grains futures for a second straight session.

--Corn for March delivery fell 1% to $5.26 a bushel.

--Wheat for March delivery fell 0.5% to $6.72 1/4 a bushel.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

Offloading: Grain futures trading on the CBOT were down across the board Tuesday. Selling came largely from managed money, which took profits as grains are still perched on multi-year highs. Midday, managed funds were net sellers of 2,000 contracts of soft red wheat; 15,000 contracts of soybeans; 2,000 contracts soyoil, 6,000 contracts of soymeal and 6,000 contracts of corn, according to Archer Financial Services.

Mixed Messages: Prices for wheat across the world rose yesterday while the U.S. was closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day - something reflected by CBOT wheat prices in pre-market trading this morning before dipping lower throughout the day. Even so, wheat futures didn't suffer the same drop as corn or soybeans. "Supported by cold weather in Russia, where the young crops had a difficult start and are therefore in quite sensitive condition, prices were further driven up by the Russian export tax," said Commerzbank. "The prospect of lower Russian exports at a time when less EU wheat is also available than last year is cause for concern for traditional importers such as Egypt and Algeria."

 

INSIGHTS

 

No Slowdown: Since the release of the USDA's WASDE last week, U.S. grain prices have been rising amid expectations that higher prices are needed to "ration" demand. Even so, the USDA confirmed new large sales Tuesday. 132,000 metric tons of soybeans have been sold to China for delivery in the 2021/22 marketing year, 128,000 tons of corn have been sold to Japan for delivery in 2020/21, and Israel purchased 100,000 tons of corn for 2020/21. High prices are not stifling export demand, but may still falter short-term. "Corn continues to be supported by firm global prices with the U.S. competitively priced," said Doug Bergman of RCM Alternatives. "With that said, the funds are extremely long, so any sign that export bids are cooling could lead to a large pull-back."

Climate Watch: The La Nina climate condition seen throughout this winter is expected to continue into the spring - but how strong it is could have notable effects on winter wheat crops and planting conditions for spring row crops. In a virtual forum Tuesday, meteorologists with DTN forecast that the current La Nina climate has so far kept winter warm in most areas of the country, reducing national heating demand and limiting snowfall. However, if La Nina weakens in the coming months, then winter wheat crops could be exposed to a round of heavier snowfall - and temperatures on the colder side heading into the spring planting season.

Brazil Weakness: A profit warning from one of the top pesticide makers sent jitters across the agricultural sector Tuesday. FMC, one of the world's largest insecticide and herbicide producers, cuts its projection for fourth-quarter profits by about 16%, pointing to factors including lower-than-projected sales in Brazil due to severe drought in southern hemisphere's crop heavyweight. Brazilian farmers' problems have helped boost crop prices, a boon to U.S. farmers, but their struggles could raise concerns for farm chemical conglomerates that are relying more and more on South American markets.

 
AHEAD: 
 

--The USDA will release its weekly export sales report at 8:30 a.m. ET Thursday.

--Railroad operator Union Pacific will release its fourth- quarter 2020 earnings at 8:45 a.m. ET Thursday.

--The EIA will release its weekly ethanol production and stocks report at 10:30 a.m. ET Thursday.

 

Jacob Bunge contributed to this article.

 

Write to Kirk Maltais at kirk.maltais@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 19, 2021 15:05 ET (20:05 GMT)

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