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U.S. grains: Soy, corn futures under pressure as jobs data lifts US dollar

Chicago | Reuters – Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures fell about one per cent on Friday and corn also declined as the dollar .DXY soared after a much stronger-than-expected monthly U.S. jobs report reduced expectations of near-term Federal Reserve interest rate cuts.

“When that jobs report came out, the U.S. dollar shot up, and that seemed to be the catalyst to turn the grains back down,” said Randy Place, grain analyst with the Hightower Report.

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A firmer dollar makes U.S. grains less competitive globally, and higher interest rates tend to dampen economic growth and demand for commodities.

CBOT corn followed the weak trend but wheat futures were choppy, firming at times on short-covering, traders said.

As of 12:46 p.m. CST (1846 GMT), CBOT March soybean futures SH24 were down 13 cents at $11.90-1/4 per bushel. The contract was hovering near Tuesday’s low of $11.87-3/4, the lowest on a continuous chart of the most-active soybean contract Sv1 since November 2021.

CBOT March corn CH24 was down 3-3/4 cents at $4.43-1/2 per bushel while March wheat WH24 was down 1/2 cent at $6.01 a bushel.

Soybeans faced additional pressure from poor export demand. U.S. soybean export sales in the week to Jan. 25 totalled just 165,800 metric tons, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said on Thursday, the smallest weekly tally since May.

Traders shrugged off concerns about stressful hot and dry weather in Argentina, a major corn supplier and the world’s top exporter of soymeal and soyoil. The Buenos Aires grains exchange said that the high temperatures and lack of rain had led to a deterioration in water conditions, with water stress in some areas. However, it said around 90% of areas were still “normal/excellent.”

CBOT wheat drew support from higher K.C. hard red winter wheat 0#KW: futures, which firmed despite improvements in soil moisture in much of the U.S. Plains and Midwest. In a weekly drought update released Thursday, the USDA said only 17 per cent of the U.S. winter wheat crop was located in a drought area as of Jan. 30, down from 22 per cent the previous week and down from 58 per cent a year ago.

Meanwhile, world cereal production in 2023 is expected to reach a record high, the United Nations food agency said as it reported that its food price index fell to its lowest in almost three years in January.

– Reporting by Julie Ingwersen; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Peter Hobson in Canberra

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