April 17, 2018 / 7:15 PM / 8 days ago

GRAINS-U.S. corn futures drop despite slow planting pace; soy, wheat firm

(Updates with closing prices, adds details)

By Mark Weinraub

CHICAGO, April 17 (Reuters) - Chicago Board of Trade corn futures fell to their lowest in nearly two weeks on Tuesday, their third straight day of declines, as traders shrugged off concerns about cold weather causing planting delays in the U.S. Midwest.

“You plant more in the month of May than in the month of April, and it always gets in the ground for the most part,” said Mark Schultz, chief analyst at Minnesota-based Northstar Commodity Investment Co. “It is very difficult to go up off of weather in the month of April.”

Wheat futures rose on Tuesday on bargain buying after falling 2 percent in the previous session, with additional support stemming from a U.S. Agriculture Department report that showed wheat ratings well below last year.

Soybean futures also were higher, with technical buyers stepping into the market after Monday’s decline. But gains were kept in check by concerns about new developments in a trade fight between the United States and China.

CBOT May corn futures ended down 2-1/4 cents at $3.80-1/4 a bushel, just 1/2 cent above their session low. Prices have fallen 2.2 percent during the three days of losses.

CBOT May soft red winter wheat futures gained 4 cents to close at $4.66-1/4 a bushel. K.C. hard red winter wheat , which tracks the crop being grown in the drought-stressed U.S. Plains, was up 2-1/2 cents at $4.80-1/2 a bushel.

“Wheat saw a large drop on Monday on forecasts for much-needed rain in the U.S. Plains, which took a fair level of risk out of the market,” said Charles Clack, agricultural commodity analyst at Rabobank. “This could be viewed as presenting a good buying opportunity today with some regarding the market as oversold.”

The USDA said late on Monday that 31 percent of the U.S. wheat crop is in good to excellent condition, up from 30 percent last week. A year ago, the crop was rated 54 percent good to excellent.

CBOT May soybean futures were up 4 cents at $10.46 a bushel. Prices found support from early weakness at the 30-day moving average.

China said on Tuesday it will slap a hefty temporary deposit on imports of U.S. sorghum, stirring trade tensions between the world’s top two economies. China is the biggest buyer of U.S. soybeans and any moves it makes on its commodity purchases ripples across the agriculture sector. (Additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; editing by Ed Osmond and Alistair Bell)

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