By Kirk Maltais

-Soybeans for May delivery fell 1.4% to $11.32 3/4 a bushel, on the Chicago Board of Trade on Thursday, in response to signs that demand for U.S. soybean exports are growing weaker in the face of Brazilian competition and China's appetite for them.

-Corn for May delivery fell 0.7% to $4.27 1/4 a bushel.

-Wheat for July delivery rose 0.1% to $5.54 a bushel.


Stagnant Sales: Multiple factors are hurting the competitiveness of U.S. grains on the world export stage -- particularly for soybeans. "The stronger dollar and weakening Real in Brazil are widening out the price spread to Brazil's favor," Karl Setzer of Consus Ag Consulting said. The U.S. dollar index is up 0.2%, continuing to rise as expectations for an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve push farther out in the year. Weekly export sales report also hurt soybeans today, Setzer said. This week's report showed sales within analyst expectations for soybeans, but on the low side overall.

Watering the Plants: U.S. corn and soybean crops are under pressure as the planting season progresses - with precipitation in many growing areas providing grains favorable soil moisture for early development stages. "The bears will need to see a supply risk to shift price trend," AgResource said in a note. Typically, futures tend to slide ahead of weekends in which sizable planting progress is expected.


More Dicey: For corn and soybeans, weather appears to support the planting and early developments in the U.S. Corn Belt. For wheat, things are less rosy. "We're seeing a bit of strength in the hard red wheat markets as dry weather takes its toll on the Plains crop, as well as the Black Sea crop, while excessive wetness negatively impacts Europe's crop," said Arlan Suderman of StoneX in a note. Suderman adds that although weather issues loom and may present an issue, Black Sea exports continue to be cheap and are keeping pressure on export prices and, by extension, futures prices.

Returning to Normal: The Panama Canal Authority said it's pulling back on restrictions put in place in response to drought conditions seen last year--which will increase the amount of vessels through the canal. Starting May 16, the PCA will raise total daily transits by 4 to 31. In media reports, the PCA has been quoted as saying that pending adverse weather, the canal would reopen in full by 2025. The Panama Canal is a key passageway for commodities that travel over the ocean--including oil, natural gas, and grains. Freight issues with vessels traveling over the ocean are a factor that can lift commodity prices.


-The USDA will release its monthly Cattle on Feed report at 3 p.m. ET Friday.

-The CFTC will release its weekly Commitment of Traders report at 3:30 p.m. ET Friday.

-The USDA will release its weekly grains export inspections report at 11 a.m. ET Monday.

-The USDA will release its weekly Crop Progress report at 4 p.m. ET Monday.

Write to Kirk Maltais at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

04-18-24 1508ET