CHICAGO, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) agricultural futures saw a choppy week ending July 19, as traders weighed downbeat export data against heat wave hitting the U.S. grain belt, and news about trade talks with China.
Although the market closed Friday with a strong rally, all the crop futures posted losses on a weekly basis.
The most active corn contract for December delivery was down 23.5 cents, or 5.12 percent week on week, to close at 4.3575 dollars per bushel. September wheat was down 20.5 cents, or 3.92 percent, to settle at 5.025 dollars per bushel. November soybeans were down 12.25 cents, or 1.32 percent, to close at 9.1925 dollars per bushel.
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its weekly export inspection report. In the week ending July 11, 676,485 metric tons of corn were inspected or weighed, lower than 721,419 metric tons in the previous week.
The USDA pegged inspected wheat at 315,358 metric tons, sharply down from 616,261 in the previous seven days.
Inspected soybeans rose week on week, but the accumulative total in the current market year reached 38.72 million metric tons, well below the 50.98 million the same period of previous year.
On Thursday, the USDA released another bearish report on export sales. For the period of July 5-11, U.S. exporters reported net corn sales of 200,000 metric tons for 2018/19 marketing year, down 60 percent from the previous week and 21 percent from the prior four-week average.
Net soybean sales reached 127,900 metric tons for 2018/19, down 3 percent from the previous week and 68 percent from the prior four-week average.
Net wheat export sales of 347,300 metric tons for 2019/20 were up 22 percent from the previous week and 2 percent from the prior four-week average. However, CBOT wheat futures failed to gain that day due to spillover from falling corn and soybean prices.
Slightly improved U.S. crop conditions further pressured CBOT prices, said market followers.
The USDA reported that 58 percent of U.S. corn was rated in good/excellent condition as of July 14, up from 57 percent in the previous period.
Soybeans rated as good or excellent were also one percentage point higher week on week.
The heat wave affecting the U.S. Midwest states this weekend did support crop prices, amid concerns that high temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius in some parts of the grain belt could stress and damage the late-planted corn and soybeans. Yet the cooler weather forecasts throughout next week somewhat eased the worry.
Moreover, market participants have closely followed economic and trade consultations between the United States and China, the world's top soybean buyer.
Chinese and U.S. chief trade negotiators held a telephone conversation on Thursday, which drew immediate attention of CBOT traders and contributed to a more than two percent daily surge in soybean prices.