U.S. grains: Corn down on disappointing export data

CBOT May 2019 corn, with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages. (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn futures fell on Monday, halting a four-session rebound from contract lows set last week, as traders worried about export prospects for U.S. grains, analysts said.

Soybeans and wheat futures also declined.

Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) May corn settled down 1-3/4 cents at $3.71-1/2 per bushel (all figures US$).

CBOT May soybeans ended down 3-1/2 cents at $9.05-3/4 a bushel and May soft red winter wheat fell 5-1/2 cents at $4.56-3/4 a bushel.

Corn futures were pressured in part by disappointing weekly U.S. export data. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported export inspections of U.S. corn in the latest week at 795,241 tonnes, down from an adjusted figure of 803,351 tonnes the previous week.

“These exports have been running weaker and weaker for corn,” said Brian Basting, an analyst with Advance Trading in Bloomington, Ill.

“It’s impossible to say when or if a trade deal (with China) might be struck … But the export market is weak right now,” Basting said, noting competition from Ukraine and strong crop production prospects in South America.

CBOT soybean futures also declined, reflecting the absence of fresh developments in U.S.-China trade talks, in which soybean shipments are a major issue.

Traders noted prospects for wet weather and flooding in northwestern portions of the Midwest Corn Belt and the Mississippi River Delta to delay corn planting and encourage farmers to switch some acres to soybeans, which can be seeded later in the season.

CBOT wheat futures posted the largest declines on a percentage basis, with the May contract pressured by lacklustre export inspections. USDA reported weekly export inspections of U.S. wheat at 353,727 tonnes, below a range of trade expectations for 400,000 to 700,000 tonnes.

However, Minneapolis Grain Exchange spring wheat futures rose, with the May contract up six cents at $5.60-3/4 a bushel, supported by news that Ethiopia was seeking 400,000 tonnes of milling wheat.

Worries about U.S. spring wheat planting delays due to deep snows and frozen soils in the northern Plains added support.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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