GRAINS: Corn near three-year low; weighed down by U.S. weather

U.S. corn futures fell 2.4 per cent to their lowest in nearly three years on Thursday as yield-boosting weather across the U.S. Midwest raised already high expectations about a bumper harvest this fall.

“The bears certainly took back control of the markets,” said Arlan Suderman, analyst with Water Street Solutions in Peoria, Illinois. “The focus was on the big crop to be harvested in the weeks ahead. Cooler and wetter forecasts certainly gave them the courage they needed in order to push their short positions.”

The weather outlook, which includes some rain for the driest areas of the region such as western Iowa and eastern Nebraska, also weighed on soybean futures. Wheat was pulled lower by the drop in corn prices.

“Cooler than normal temperatures are helping areas that are short of moisture avoid stress and most of the Corn Belt is forecast to receive rain over the coming week to 10 days,” Sterling Smith, futures specialist at Citi Futures, said in a note to clients. “It appears new lows (in prices) are likely.”

Chicago Board of Trade September corn futures settled down 11-1/2 cents at $4.87-1/2 a bushel. The front-month contract bottomed out at $4.86-1/2, its lowest since hitting $4.64-3/4 on Oct. 5, 2010.

New-crop CBOT corn for December delivery dropped 12 cents to $4.67.

In addition to the storms, which were expected to bring between 0.5 to 1.5 inches of rain during the next three days to much of eastern Nebraska and southwestern Iowa, temperatures were forecast to remain cooler than usual across the Corn Belt, reducing stress on the corn as it finishes pollination.

The weather also was seen as beneficial to soybeans but the cool temperatures will slow development of both crops, said Andy Karst, meteorologist at World Weather Inc. The slow development could leave them vulnerable to damage from an early frost this fall, although the market was discounting that possibility.

New-crop November soybeans at the Chicago Board of Trade ended down 13-3/4 cents at $11.92-1/2 a bushel, the lowest for the contract in more than three months. The expiring August contract fell 16-1/4 cents at $13.57-3/4 after a volatile session that saw prices fluctuate between negative and positive territory. There have been no deliveries against the August contract.

CBOT September soft red winter wheat was 6-1/4 cents lower at $6.58 a bushel, snapping a string of four straight positive sessions. The decline in wheat was the biggest in nearly five weeks.

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