By Kirk Maltais

-- Corn for July delivery fell 1.1% to $4.62 1/2 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade on Wednesday as momentum for funds covering short positions dried up early in trading.

-- Wheat for July delivery fell 0.8% to $6.66 3/4 a bushel.

-- Soybeans for July delivery are virtually unchanged at $12.14 1/2 a bushel.


Off the Rails: Fuel to power the short covering evidenced in Friday's CFTC report ran out early in the day, allowing technical selling to set in and take control.

"We may not be able to move out of these current ranges without further headlines, fundamentals, etc," said Donna Hughes of StoneX.

Part of the earlier push came in part from the release of inflation data that showed inflation growing by 3.4% for April, down to its lowest level since 2021.

Looking for An Even Keel: Before CBOT grains capsized, traders believed that fund trader positions were heading toward being net neutral ahead of the summer growing season.

According to Tomm Pfitzenmaier of Summit Commodity Brokerage, analysts anticipate traders want to be in a position to trade with more flexibility on weather trends that may hit summer crops.

Monday's crop progress report from the USDA showed a slowdown in planting by U.S. farmers, although traders aren't convinced that this slowdown will lead to more-consequential planting delays.


Figuring It Out: Trading in CBOT grains appears hinged on open questions more than concrete facts, said AgResource in a note.

"Today there are more questions than answers -- the size of South American crops, Black Sea weather in June, and U.S. planting dates -- and clients must be prepared for wide-swinging markets," the firm said.

Traders are still reacting to Conab data showing larger estimates for Brazilian crop size, this while Russian crops struggle with multiple frost events.

Cold and Dry: Russian agricultural firm SovEcon cut its outlook for the 2024 Russian wheat crop by 7.2 million metric tons, bringing the total to 85.7 million metric tons.

The firm said that its large cut comes from "weather anomalies" in central and southern Russia. In southern Russia, only 20-40% of normal rainfall has been received over the course of the past three months, impacting those crops. Frost damage is the main factor behind the damage seen to crops in the central area.

The impact to conditions looks to be supportive for wheat prices going forward.

"Conditions for crop development in Russia have worsened significantly, which could provide support to the market given the low crop prospects in Europe," SovEcon said.

Feeling Deflated: Daily production of ethanol in the U.S. rose above estimates from analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal this week, but that did little to improve corn's fortunes in the trading session.

In its latest weekly report, the EIA said that daily ethanol production for the week ended May 10 rose to 1 million barrels a day. It is the first time since early April that daily production rose to or exceeded the 1 million barrel-a-day mark. Surveyed analysts had forecast daily production to land between 955,000 barrels to 985,000 barrels a day.

Traders were largely unimpressed by the data, said Naomi Blohm of Total Farm Marketing in a note, leaving corn futures unable to turn positive later in the day.


-- The CFTC is scheduled to release its weekly Commitments of Traders Report at 3:30 p.m. EDT Friday.

-- The USDA is due to release its weekly grains export inspections report at 11 a.m. EDT Monday.

-- The USDA is scheduled to release its weekly crop progress report at 4 p.m. EDT Monday.

Write to Kirk Maltais at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

05-15-24 1613ET