U.S. grains: Corn drops to nearly one-year low

(Bob Nichols photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. grain prices fell about one per cent on Monday, with benchmark Chicago Board of Trade December corn sinking to a nearly one-year low, on technical selling and easing concerns that dry weather would reduce harvests.

Several CBOT wheat futures contracts dropped to lifetime lows, while soybeans notched small declines.

Soyoil and palm oil futures both gained ahead of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s expected announcement at midday Tuesday of countervailing duties on imports of Argentine and Indonesian biodiesel.

“There’s not many areas left in the United States that will have substantial drought impact, and there’s a lack of bullish news (in wheat),” said Futures International analyst Terry Reilly.

Rainfall was expected to benefit soybeans and corn in the top growing state of Iowa, INTL FCStone said in a client note.

Scouts on an annual U.S. crop tour found variable yields for corn and soybean crops in parts of Ohio and South Dakota on the first of a four-day swing through the Midwest.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture after the close of trading increased U.S. soybean good-to-excellent crop condition ratings, matching analyst expectations. Spring wheat ratings also increased when analysts predicted flat ratings while corn crop conditions were unchanged.

“Climatic conditions have improved, and whatever threat there is to some crops has already been priced in,” said National Australia Bank agribusiness economist Phin Ziebell.

CBOT December corn settled down 2-3/4 cents at $3.63 per bushel, near the contract’s lifetime low of $3.58-1/2 reached on Aug. 31, 2016 (all figures US$). Corn on a continuous chart was the lowest since June 27.

CBOT December wheat dropped to a contract low of $4.35-1/2 per bushel, before trimming losses to $4.37, down 5-1/2 cents.

CBOT November soybeans were down 1-1/2 cents at $9.36-1/4 per bushel. Losses were limited in part by USDA’s announcement that exporters sold 661,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China and unknown destinations for the 2017-18 season, which starts on Sept. 1.

September soyoil futures were up 0.19 cent at 33.80 cents/lb. Investors were squaring their positions ahead of the government announcement of countervailing duties, Reilly said.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Colin Packham in Sydney and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.



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