By Kirk Maltais

 

--Wheat for May delivery rose 0.9% to $6.53 3/4 a bushel, on the Chicago Board of Trade on Thursday, with freezing temperatures descending on Midwestern wheat-growing areas.

--Soybeans for May delivery rose 0.6% to $14.18 1/4 a bushel.

--Corn for May delivery fell 0.7% to $5.90 a bushel.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

Frost Bite: Freezing temperatures have hit winter-wheat-growing areas of the U.S. Midwest. "The cold has commenced, with temperatures down to freezing overnight over the northern plains, and due to get there tomorrow morning over the eastern belt," said Charlie Sernatinger of ED&F Man Capital. Potential for frost issues are expected to last until next week, according to DTN.

Backing Away: After briefly pushing through the $6-a-bushel barrier, a level not seen since July 2013, most-active corn futures trading on the CBOT backed off. Some traders seized their profits, although many others may soon return buying corn with Thursday's break. "Old-crop corn contracts remain under pressure at midday on fears that high prices are rationing demand, but we are otherwise seeing signs of buying the break once again in the complex," said Arlan Suderman of StoneX.

 

INSIGHT

 

Missing the Mark: Export sales of U.S. corn fell below the forecasts of grains traders surveyed by The Wall Street Journal, with new sales to China lacking. In the USDA's weekly export sales report for the week ended April 8, corn sales totaled 380,300 metric tons for both marketing years. This is below the range projected by traders surveyed this week, who had forecast sales to land anywhere from 600,000 tons to 1.2 million tons. Sales of wheat and soybeans were also lackluster, falling on the low end of trader expectations.

Foot on the Gas: The rate of soybeans crushed in March has jumped from February's slump, although not as much as expected by grains traders. According to the National Oilseed Processors Association latest crush report, March crush came in at 178 million bushels, up from 155.2 million bushels in February. However, grains traders had expected crush to hit 179.2 million bushels this month, said Terry Reilly of Futures International, making the report negative for soybean futures. "NOPA March U.S. crush report was slightly bearish for soybeans," said Mr. Reilly, adding that soybean oil stocks came in lower than expectations, providing some mitigation to this month's disappointment.

Good Signs: In a monthly report released Wednesday, the Federal Reserve said that numerous indicators nationwide point to improving prospects for the U.S. farm economy. The most telling indicator noted by the Fed was the sharp uptick in prices for corn and soybeans, with prices received for both crops on a steep ascent that began last year. Meanwhile, federal aid and higher land values are both positives for farmers, and an increase seen in fertilizer costs in some parts of the country don't appear to be of a major effect to farmers planting this spring -- as most had already procured their fertilizer needs before prices rose in March.

 

AHEAD

 

--The CFTC will release its weekly commitment of traders report at 3:30 p.m. ET Friday.

--The USDA will release its weekly export inspections report at 11 a.m. ET Monday.

--The USDA will release its weekly crop progress report at 4 p.m. ET Monday.

 

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 15, 2021 15:22 ET (19:22 GMT)

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