Wheat futures tumble 2% as U.S. weather improves

U.S. wheat futures tumbled on Monday, as much-needed rainfall in the U.S. grain belt eased concerns over the health of the winter-wheat crop.
On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, US wheat for May delivery hit a session low of $5.1340 a bushel, the weakest level since April 1, before trading at $5.1488 during U.S. morning hours, down 11.53 cents, or 2.19%.
On Friday, wheat jumped 7.6 cents, or 1.49%, to settle at $5.2640, drawing support from chart-based buying.
Agricultural meteorologists forecast further rains in key U.S. wheat-growing states, after much-needed rainfall fell over dry areas in the Great Plains-region over the weekend.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly 44% of the U.S. winter wheat crop was rated good to excellent as of last week. The five-year average for the first week in April is 47%.
Later in the day, the USDA will release updated crop progress numbers for the week ended April 10.
Meanwhile, US corn for May delivery slumped 1.82 cents, or 0.49%, to trade at $3.7438 a bushel. Prices touched a daily low of $3.7288, a level not seen since March 20.
Corn declined 1.0 cent, or 0.26%, on Friday to end at $3.7700 amid indications of ample supplies.
The USDA said last week that U.S. corn inventories at the end of the 2014-15 season in August will total 1.827 billion bushels, up from a previous estimate of 1.777 billion bushels.
The agency also projected global ending corn stockpiles at 188.5 million metric tons for the 2014-15 season, up from a previous forecast of 185.28 million tons.
Elsewhere on the Chicago Board of Trade, US soybeans for May delivery eased down 0.57 cents, or 0.06%, to trade at $9.5163 a bushel.
On Friday, soybean prices tumbled to $9.4440, the lowest level since October 21, before closing at $9.5140, down 2.0 cents, or 0.21%, as optimism over the outlook for supplies in South America and weak demand for U.S. supplies drove down prices.
Prices of the oilseed lost 32.87 cents, or 3.34%, last week, the fifth weekly decline in the past six weeks.
According to the USDA, global soybean ending stocks were expected to total 89.6 million tons, up from 89.5 million tons estimated last month, due to a record crop in Brazil.
Brazil and Argentina are major soybean exporters and compete with the U.S. for business on the global market. Large South American crop prospects could weigh on demand for U.S. supplies.
Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, followed by soybeans, government figures show. Wheat was fourth, behind hay.

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