Losses were near or above 3% in wheat, corn and soybean futures, with soybean meal down about 4% but soybean oil down less than 1% for the day. Despite the sharp losses, nearby wheat futures still held above October lows, but corn futures ended at the lowest level since late September and soybeans were the lowest since June.
Futures prices have been under pressure since last Friday, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast 2012-13 U.S. wheat, corn and soybean ending stocks above trade expectations and cut projected 2012-13 U.S. wheat exports by 50 million bus, or 4%, from October in its November World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. The agency also boosted its estimate of U.S. 2012 soybean production by 4% from October, more than expected by the trade, and trimmed its 2012 U.S. corn production estimate less than the trade expected.
For wheat, the cut in 2012-13 export projections illustrated strong competition from foreign sellers, especially in the Black Sea region (Russia and Ukraine) as well as in Europe, all of which have freight advantages to key buyers in the Middle East.
Since peaking in late July near $9.50 a bus in Chicago, near $9.60 a bu in Kansas City and at $10.35 a bu in Minneapolis (all nearby continuous basis), December wheat futures have declined about 10% in Chicago and Minneapolis and about 8% in Kansas City. Hard red winter wheat futures in Kansas City have declined the least due to concerns about poor crop condition ratings across the Southwest due to dry conditions.