U.S-China Ties
U.S-China Ties

Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) agricultural commodities closed sharply lower in the past trading week which ended May 11, with soybean prices plunging more than three percent amid U.S.-China trade dispute and massive fund selling.

The most active corn contract for July delivery fell 9.75 cents, or 2.4 percent weekly, to 3.965 dollars per bushel. July wheat delivery edged down 27.5 cents, or 5.23 percent, to 4.9875 dollars per bushel. July soybeans were down 33 cents weekly, or 3.23 percent, to 10.0325 dollars per bushel.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its May crop supply and demand report on Thursday.

The USDA pegged the U.S. 2017/18 soybean ending stocks at 530 million bushels, compared with the trade’s estimate of 544 million and the USDA’s April estimate of 550 million.

Less-than-expected ending stocks of U.S. soybeans pushed up CBOT soybean futures on Thursday. However, a report released by China on its soybean import estimates reversed the upturn of Chicago soybean futures on the following day.

According to the official website of Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Chinas soybean imports are expected to fall 0.3 percent in 2018/19 to about 95.65 million metric tons, while the planting hectares of soybeans in China will be increased by 7.8 percent over 2017/18.

U.S. traders view the projected decline of Chinas soybean imports as a result of trade tensions between the two countries. It’s reportedly the first time in 15 years that the biggest importer of U.S. soybeans lowered its oil seed import estimates.

The rising U.S. ending stocks in 2017/18 for corn and wheat pushed down their prices respectively.

For wheat, the U.S. 2017/18 ending stocks were estimated at 1.070 billion bushels, compared with trade’s estimate of 1.063 billion bushels and the USDA’s April estimate of 1.064 billion.

Wheat futures were lower also due to the USDA’s rising estimate for domestic production in the 2018/19 marketing year, which starts on June 1. The output was pegged at 1.821 billion bushels, up 5 percent year-over-year.

On the last session of the past trading week, CBOT wheat for July delivery retreated again below five dollar per bushel, after two weeks above the level.

Moreover, amid the weakness in Russia’s currency and a firm dollar, U.S. wheat has become less competitive at international market, especially when compare with Black Sea wheat.

As for corn, the USDA put 2017/18 domestic ending stocks at 2.18 billion bushels, compared with the trade’s average expectation of 2.170 billion bushels and the USDA’s estimate in April of 2.182 billion bushel.

But analysts said the USDA’s newly updated data had little effect on CBOT corn on Thursday. It was the funds massive selling on Friday that sent all the futures, including corn, significantly lower.
CBOT brokers estimated that funds sold 14,700 contracts of corn, 10,400 contracts of soybeans, and 3,700 contracts of wheat.

Funds’ mangers were liquidating CBOT length amid uncertain U.S.-China and NAFTA negotiations, said analysts with AgResource, an agricultural research and advisory firm. Technical selling ahead of weekend also led to the market fall. Enditem

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