Investing.com – U.S. wheat futures fell sharply on Friday to hit the lowest level in more than two weeks on forecasts for drier, warmer weather in the southern Great-Plains region, which was expected to benefit crop prospects.
On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, US wheat for July delivery hit an intraday low of $4.7463 a bushel, a level not seen since May 13, before settling at $4.7700, down 11.6 cents, or 2.4%.
On the week, the July wheat contract plunged 37.87 cents, or 7.21%, the first weekly loss in four weeks.
Wheat has been under pressure in recent days after data showed that crop conditions in the Midwest held up last week despite heavy rainfall, which was expected to potentially damage the maturing winter-wheat crop.
Nearly 45% of the U.S. winter wheat crop was rated good to excellent as of May 24, unchanged from the preceding week, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The agency also said that nearly 96% of the spring wheat crop was planted as of May 24, up from 94% in the preceding week. Only 70% of the crop was planted in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average for this time of year is 79%.
Meanwhile, US corn for July delivery shed 2.0 cents, or 0.57%, on Friday to end at $3.5140 a bushel. A day earlier, corn prices fell to $3.4820, the lowest since October 21.
For the week, corn futures slumped 9.13 cents, or 2.43%, the second straight weekly decline, amid indications of rapid planting progress in the U.S. Midwest.
According to the USDA, approximately 92% of the corn crop was planted as of May 24, up from 85% in the preceding week. Nearly 86% of the crop was planted during the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average for this time of year is 88%.
Corn emergence rose to 74% last week from 56% a week earlier, above the five-year average of 62%.
Elsewhere on the Chicago Board of Trade, US soybeans for July delivery advanced 8.0 cents, or 0.86%, on Friday to close at $9.3400 a bushel. For the week, the July soybean contract tacked on 10.76 cents, or 1.03%, the first weekly gain in three weeks.
Prices of the oilseed were supported by strong gains in the soy oil market amid talk of strong overseas demand.
Soybeans fell to an almost eight-month low of $9.2040 on Tuesday after the USDA said that nearly 61% of the soybean crop was planted as of last week, up from 45% in the preceding week. Approximately 55% of the crop was planted in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average for this time of year is 55%.
Soybean emergence was 32% complete, improving from 13% a week earlier, while the five-year average pace for the week is 25%.
In the week ahead, market players will focus on the release of key USDA data, including crop progress and weekly export sales figures.
Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, followed by soybeans, government figures show. Wheat was fourth, behind hay.