Wheat trade close to 3-week low as U.S. crop conditions improve

CommoditiesApr 18, 2012 06:18AM ET
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Investing.com - Wheat futures edged modestly lower during European morning trade on Wednesday, hovering close to a three-week low as favorable weather conditions in key U.S. wheat-growing states aided the development of wheat crops.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, wheat futures for May delivery traded at USD6.1512 a bushel during European morning trade, dipping 0.1%.

It earlier fell by as much as 0.3% to trade at USD6.1463 a bushel, the lowest since March 30.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its weekly crop progress report published after markets closed Tuesday that approximately 64% of U.S. winter-wheat crops were rated in ‘good’ to ‘excellent’ condition as of April 15, up from 61% in the preceding week and significantly higher than 36% in the same week a year earlier.

The report showed that about 38% of the Texas wheat crop was in ‘good’ to ‘excellent’ condition, while 69% of the crop in Kansas was rated ‘good’ to ‘excellent’.

According to officials, crop development in Kansas was “two to three weeks ahead of the average. Kansas is the largest wheat-growing state in the U.S. while Texas is the fifth-largest.

The data added that almost 37% of the U.S. spring-wheat crop was planted as of last week, up from 21% a week earlier and significantly higher than the five-year average of just 9% for this time of year.

Some crop-friendly rainfall in the U.S. Midwest and Great Plains region last week aided the development of the crop, according to market participants.

The report came out a day later than usual, as Monday’s release was delayed due to a fire at a USDA building in Washington.     

The U.S. is the largest wheat exporter, followed by Australia and Russia, according to the USDA.

The above-average pace of U.S. spring-wheat plantings added to the view that global supplies of the grain are ample to meet demand.

In its Supply & Demand Estimate Report published earlier in the month, the USDA pegged global wheat supplies in the current marketing season at 206.27 million tons, the highest in 11 years.  

Global wheat production was projected at a record high 694.32 million tonnes, almost 7% above the previous season’s output level. The previous record was 685.59 million tonnes, recorded in the 2009-10 season.

Wheat prices have been under heavy selling pressure in recent sessions, losing almost 8% since March 30 on the view that global supplies are ample.

Elsewhere on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, corn for May delivery eased up 0.2% to trade at USD6.1763 a bushel, while soybeans for May delivery shed 0.55% to trade at USD14.1725 a bushel.

Wheat trade close to 3-week low as U.S. crop conditions improve

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