U.S. grains: Corn at five-year low, soy four-year low on accelerating harvest

(Lisa Guenther photo)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn futures slumped to a five-year low Friday while soybeans notched a fresh four-year low amid ideal weather conditions for record harvests in the U.S. Midwestern crop belt, while new highs in the dollar made the supplies less competitive in global markets.

Wheat futures were mostly lower, pressured by prospects of a record global crop this season.

The dollar widened gains over a basket of other currencies, giving shippers in Europe and South America more room to undercut U.S. corn, soybeans and wheat.

“You have a wall of grain coming at you — more than enough to meet demand,” said Tom Fritz, analyst at brokerage EGF Group in Chicago. “The market is trying to find a level where the demand is, and prices are telling us we haven’t found it.”

Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures posted the largest declines in the grains complex, with further pressure by news that top global soy importer China has suspended the import approval process for an unnamed genetically modified variety.

China also will celebrate Golden Week beginning next week — a time that typically sees a slowdown in buying.

Most-active CBOT November soybeans eased 1.3 per cent, or 12-1/2 cents, to $9.10-1/4 per bushel, the lowest level since February 2010 on a continuous chart (all figures US$).

CBOT December corn futures eased three cents to $3.23, the lowest point since September of 2009. Futures earlier knocked out their previous low of $3.24-1/2, which was the lowest point since June 29, 2010.

Weather during the next five days will remain largely ideal for the U.S. harvest, with no freeze expected and only minimal chances of heavy rainfall, the Commodity Weather Group said in a note to clients.

“We will get a lot of beans cut in the next three days. The attitude is that the producer will go after his beans first and let the corn dry down,” Fritz added. “Corn has some decent moisture and if (farmers) want to pay to dry it, that adds insult to injury.”

CBOT December wheat was up 1/4 cent at $4.74-1/4, in an “inside day” on the charts after hitting contract and four-year lows during the previous session. Most other wheat contracts were lower.

Prices for each crop capped weekly declines and headed for steep quarterly declines ahead of the final trading days of the third quarter next week.

The International Grains Council on Thursday raised its forecast for the 2014-15 global wheat crop to a record level due to an improved outlook in the European Union and Ukraine, adding to a picture of ample supply.

An expected drop in production in No. 4 exporter Australia failed to stem concern about excess supplies.

Australia’s wheat production is expected to drop 11 per cent this year as a dry spring in some of the country’s key producing states curbs yields, a Reuters survey showed.

“This, in itself, is hardly likely to be enough for the wheat price to make any sort of noticeable recovery, for the plentiful crops in the northern hemisphere, where harvesting is almost complete, have caused supply to grow considerably,” Commerzbank said in a market note.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Nigel Hunt in London and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.



Stories from our other publications