Chicago soybeans edged lower on Thursday after a seven-month peak in the previous session, while corn eased for a third day as traders set recent storm damage and dry weather in the Midwest against generally strong prospects for harvest yields.
Wheat also eased, with rising expectations for Russia's harvest set to maintain strong export competition. Grain markets were also awaiting weekly U.S. export figures, as well as any further flash sale announcements, to see if brisk demand from China was continuing despite diplomatic tensions between Washington and Beijing.
The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board Of Trade was down 1.2% at $3.35-3/4 a bushel by 1016 GMT, easing further from a five-week high on Tuesday. CBOT soybeans fell 0.9% to $9.05-3/4 a bushel, after hitting their highest since Jan. 22 at $9.19-1/2 on Wednesday. CBOT wheat was down 1.1% at $5.16-1/2 a bushel.
Estimates of higher yields in parts of the U.S. Midwest during a widely followed crop tour this week have weighed on corn, while some weather forecasts pointing to widespread showers in the week ahead tempered concern about soybeans.
However, crop tour scouts observed effects of a storm last week in Iowa, pending a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) repeat survey of corn and soybeans acreage data in the light of the storm.
"It's going to be interesting to see what the USDA's follow-up survey in Iowa finds as acreage," Nathan Cordier of consultancy Agritel said. "The market is not really basing itself any more on the USDA's August forecast for corn production."
The storm damage and dry weather have raised doubts about the USDA's August forecasts projecting a record corn crop and the second-largest ever soybean harvest, but supplies are still expected to be ample.
"Overall, U.S. should have a decent crop, so on the supply front there will not be any major issues," a Singapore-based trader said of soybeans.