Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

GRAINS: U.S. corn drops to four-year low as weather stays favourable

Warm spell in U.S. Corn Belt seen short-lived, U.S. wheat follows corn lower; Ukraine situation eyed

U.S. corn futures fell 2 per cent to a four-year low on Monday with all months notching contract lows as ideal weather in the heart of the Midwest signaled a bumper harvest, traders said.

Soybeans were also sharply lower, with wheat following suit. At the Chicago Board of Trade at 12:05 p.m. CDT (1705 GMT), benchmark December corn was down 7-1/2 cents at $3.71 a bushel after falling to $3.70-1/2, below the previous contract low of $3.78. September hit $3.63, the lowest spot price since Aug. 1, 2010.

“The majority of today’s trade remains focused on the near-perfect growing conditions for the U.S. crops,” said Karl Setzer, market analyst at the MaxYield Cooperative in West Bend, Iowa. “While we are seeing elevated temperatures in the Midwest today and tomorrow, conditions moderate considerably by the weekend.”

Analysts expect the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly crop progress report due later on Monday to show 76 per cent of the corn crop in good to excellent condition, unchanged from the previous week. Soybean ratings were also seen holding steady at 72 per cent good-to-excellent.

“Any steady number this time of year, when we are normally dropping, is an indication of a very big crop,” said Rich Nelson, an analyst at farm advisory Allendale Inc.

In soybeans, the benchmark November contract was down 16-1/4 cents at $10.69 a bushel, falling for a third straight session and nearing its contract low of $10.65.

Front-month August was down 1-3/4 cents at $11.75, underpinned by USDA confirming a sale of 120,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China for delivery in the 2013/14 crop year that ends Aug. 31.

Wheat followed the lower trend, with spot September down 5 cents at $5.27-1/4 a bushel after setting a contract low at $5.23-3/4.

“Fears about the delivery capability of Ukraine and Russia in the event of a further escalation of the crisis appear to have given way to a more relaxed view of the situation, just as has happened on the oil market too,” Commerzbank analysts said in a commodities note.

Wheat prices had already tumbled on Friday to give up gains from Thursday, when the downing of a Malaysian commercial airliner over eastern Ukraine caused jitters about a deepening crisis.

Julie Ingversen writes for Reuters news service in Chicago

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