U.S. agricultural futures fall

By Xu Jing

CHICAGO, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) agricultural futures fell across the board on Friday, led by wheat.

The most active corn contract for March delivery fell 6 cents, or 1.41 percent, to settle at 4.205 dollars per bushel. March wheat lost 9 cents, or 1.54 percent, to settle at 5.755 dollars per bushel. January soybean shed 5.25 cents, or 0.45 percent, to close at 11.63 dollars per bushel.

CBOT futures sagged with corn and wheat the downside leaders. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) did not confirm any fresh Chinese buying of U.S. corn, soybeans or wheat, Chicago-based research company AgResource noted. The lack of China demand confirmation was taken as bearish with the driest areas of Brazil to start to see rain this weekend.

The monthly U.S. October Trade report showed that the United States had enjoyed its largest positive agricultural trade balance since 2016 at over 3.5 billion U.S. dollars. The United States exported a record 420.4 million bushels of soybeans in October. For the first two months of the crop year, the United States has exported a record 706.4 million bushels of soybeans, and is easily on track to export over one billion bushels of soybeans in the first quarter of the crop year.

U.S. October corn exports were 145.0 million bushels, while U.S. wheat/wheat flour exports were 64.5 million bushels, down from September and last year.

Weather forecast shows that most of Northern Brazil will be dry for another 48 hours before showers/storms break out with regularity across Mato Grosso and Goias. The lack of rain has caused crop stress and reduced yield potential. Argentina and Southern Brazil will hold in an arid weather pattern for the next 10 days with limited rain.

The USDA December report is due out next week, and the report is likely to raise U.S. soybean exports by 50-100 million bushels while potentially making modest downward adjustments to South American crops due to November dryness. AgResource noted that a China purchase confirmation or the continuance of dryness in Argentine and Southern Brazil is needed to push soybean futures above 12 dollars. New highs in both corn and soybeans are likely in the weeks ahead, it predicted.

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