August 20: Wheat Prices Drop Double Digits in Chicago

Monday produced a sharp selloff in wheat prices at exchanges in Chicago and Kansas City. Spring wheat prices also fell in Minneapolis. Soybean prices and corn prices were mixed as traders prepared for this afternoon’s Crop Progress Report.

Let’s take a look at prices in Chicago and grain progress across the United States.

Wheat Prices Wilt

A weak exports report hit wheat prices across the country. Monday’s USDA export inspections report showed that 345,375 MT were tallied for the week ending August 16. That figure was roughly 295 MT lower than the previous week, and more than 41% lower than the same period in 2017.

In Chicago, December SRW contracts shed 17 cents to close the day a tick under $5.63. The March 2019 contract dropped 15.75 cents to finish just under $5.86 per bushel.

Down in Kansas City, December HRW contracts dropped 16.5 cents to finish just above $5.755 per bushel. The March 2019 HRW contract fell 16.5 cents to close a tick above $5.99.

Today, the USDA said that the winter wheat harvest is 97% complete. That figure is a point behind the five-year average.

Minneapolis spring wheat prices saw large losses as well. December MGEX contracts dropped 13.25 cents to end the day at $6.12 per bushel. The March 2019 contract shed 13 cents to end the day just above $6.27 per bushel.

Today, the USDA reported the harvest progress for spring wheat as well. The agency said that 60% of the spring wheat harvest is complete. That figure is 16 points ahead of the 5-year average.

US Spring Wheat Harvest Progress

That figure is also 5 points ahead of the same period in 2017.

Soybeans Find Minor Gains

November 2018 contracts in the soybean space added 0.5 cents to close a tick above $8.93. The January 2019 contract added 0.75 cents to finish just under $9.06.

Earlier this morning, markets had displayed some optimism that the U.S. and China are preparing to discuss the ongoing trade spat.

However, there hasn’t been any significant insight into what the nations are set to discuss and what possible concessions each might make to mend relations between the world’s two largest economies.

This afternoon, the USDA reported that 65% of the American soybean crop is rated G/E. That figure is a point behind last week’s quality figure, but it is five points ahead of the same period in 2017.

US Soybeans Crop Condition

The agency also said that 91% of the crop is setting pods. That is 8 points ahead of the five-year average.

Corn Prices Go in Reverse

An uptick in rain across the Midwest over the last few days and a lackluster USDA inspections report weighed on corn prices. This morning, the USDA said that total inspections for the week ending August 16 came in at 1.097 MMT. That figure was off more than 13% week-over-week. However, it was a 52% jump from the same period in 2017.

In Chicago, corn prices shed 2.25 cents for contracts expiring in December 2018 and March 2019. The December contract closed the day at $3.765, while the March 2019 contract closed at $3.885 per bushel.

The USDA said that 44% of corn is denting compared to the five-year average of 26%.

The agency also said that 68% of the US crop is rated G/E.

US Corn Crop Condition

That figure was off 2 points from the rating last week. However, the number is 6 points ahead of the quality figure during the same period in 2017.

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About the Author
Garrett Baldwin

Garrett Baldwin is a content strategist and editor at FarmLead. He covers the global grain markets and public policy issues related to the agricultural industry. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Economic Policy from The Johns Hopkins University, an MS in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University, and an MBA in Finance from Indiana University.

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