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Grain futures - weekly outlook: July 21 - 25

Commodities Jul 20, 2014 10:06AM ET
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U.S. corn futures end the week at four-year low on supply outlook - U.S. corn futures plunged to a four-year low on Friday, as ongoing expectations for a record U.S. harvest continued to weigh.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, U.S. corn for September delivery slumped to a session low of $3.7060 a bushel, the weakest level since July 2010, before settling at $3.7120, down 2.17%, or 8.2 cents.

On the week, the September corn contract lost 1.85%, or 7.0 cents.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said earlier in the month that U.S. corn inventories at the end of August will total 1.246 billion bushels, up 8% from its forecast in June.

According to the agency, nearly 76% of the U.S. corn crop was rated “good” to “excellent” as of last week, the highest rating for this time of year since 1994.

Elsewhere on the Chicago Board of Trade, U.S. wheat for September delivery tumbled 3.42%, or 18.85 cents, on Friday to end the week at $5.3220 a bushel, as traders reassessed the geopolitical situation in Eastern Europe.

Despite Friday’s heavy losses, the September wheat contract rose 1.16%, or 6.2 cents, on the week.

Wheat spiked almost 2.5% on Thursday after a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet crashed in eastern Ukraine on Thursday. All 298 people on board were killed, with the U.S. blaming pro-Russian separatists for the act.

Moscow has denied involvement in the crash, which came a day after the U.S. announced a fresh round of sanctions against Russia for supporting separatists in east Ukraine.

The USDA projected that Russia and Ukraine will produce a combined 74 million tonnes of wheat in the 2013-14 marketing season and export a total of 26.5 million tonnes of the grain, representing 17% of world trade.

Prices of the grain fell to a four-year low of $5.2420 on July 14 after the USDA raised its outlook for global inventories at the end of the 2014-15 season to 189.54 million metric tons from the 188.61 million tons forecast last month.

Meanwhile, U.S. soybeans for August delivery inched up 0.17%, or 2.0 cents, on Friday to settle at $11.7660 a bushel by close of trade.

On the week, the August soybean contract lost 1.58%, or 19.0 cents.

The August soybean contract slumped to a two-and-a-half-year low $11.5320 on July 15 as indications of ample global supplies drove prices lower.

The USDA raised its forecast for the U.S. soybean harvest by 4.5% to a record 3.8 billion bushels earlier in the month. The agency also increased its forecast for soybean inventories by 12% to 140 million bushels.

According to the agency, approximately 72% of the U.S. soy crop was rated “good” to “excellent” as of last week, the best condition for mid-July in 20 years.

In the week ahead, market players will focus on the release of key USDA data, including crop progress and weekly export sales figures.

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

Grain futures - weekly outlook: July 21 - 25

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