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Soybeans end mostly lower, grains plunge after USDA acres data

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CHICAGO — U.S. soybean futures closed mostly lower on Thursday as midsession support from a lower-than-expected U.S. crop acreage estimate and tightening stocks was eclipsed by broader economic concerns as equities and energy markets retreated.

Soy had traded higher after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said American farmers planted fewer acres this year than market analysts had forecast ahead of an annual acreage report released during the trading session.

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Corn and wheat futures, meanwhile, hit multi-month lows as grain stocks in a quarterly USDA report were in line with trade expectations and plantings topped consensus estimates.

“Tightening soybean stocks and potentially expanding corn and wheat stocks are sending grains lower and lending some support to beans,” said Terry Reilly, senior commodities analyst with Futures International.

Chicago Board of Trade August soybeans ended down 11 cents at $15.60 a bushel while new-crop November soybeans were down 20-1/4 cents at $14.58 a bushel.

September corn futures fell 35-1/4 cents to $6.28-3/4 a bushel, while new-crop December corn shed 34 cents to $6.19-3/4 a bushel. Both ended at their lowest since early March.

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CBOT September wheat was down 46 cents at $8.84 a bushel, a four-month low.

The USDA said corn plantings totalled 89.921 million acres (36.39 million hectares) and soybean plantings totalled 88.325 million acres. Analysts were expecting the report to show corn acreage at 89.861 million and soybean acreage at 90.446.

The USDA said it will resurvey growers on acreage in some northern states after wet spring weather delayed field work.

Grain markets are increasingly turning their attention to summer growing conditions for U.S. corn and soybeans.

Moderate temperatures have eased crop worries since a heat wave two weeks ago, though traders were monitoring rainfall after dryness in parts of the Midwest. (Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris, Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton in Beijing Editing by Marguerita Choy and Paul Simao)

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