U.S. grains: Corn futures fall after hitting 14-month high

Rains expected to benefit wheat crops; traders watch China to buy more U.S. corn, soy

CBOT December 2020 corn with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages. (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade corn futures ended lower on Tuesday after reaching their highest prices in more than a year on strong U.S. export demand.

Soybean futures backpedaled after hitting their highest price since July 2016 on Monday. Wheat also slumped.

Profit-taking weighed on corn after prices initially rose on a flurry of tenders from countries such as South Korea, Taiwan and Iran, traders said.

“Corn is being supported by firm demand, with the U.S. the main supplier in the export market and expected to remain so until into 2021,” said Matt Ammermann, StoneX commodity risk manager.

Most-active corn ended down 1-3/4 cents at $4.16 a bushel, after reaching a session high of $4.22-1/4, its highest price since August 2019 (all figures US$). Soybeans dropped seven cents to $10.76-1/2 a bushel. Wheat fell 4-1/4 cents t0 $6.15-3/4 a bushel at the CBOT.

Traders are waiting to see whether China, the world’s top soybean importer, buys more U.S. corn and soy following a recent uptick in purchases.

In Brazil, which competes with the United States for sales to China, soy farmers had planted 23 per cent of their estimated crop by Thursday, according to agribusiness consultancy AgRural.

Rain should help Brazilian soybean planting, Ammermann said.

“Soybeans have been supported by demand from China for U.S. beans, and an improved crop outlook in Brazil would give China more buying options,” he said.

Expectations for precipitation in wheat-growing areas also weighed on wheat futures, traders said. Dryness has hampered plantings in the U.S. Plains and Russia.

“We’ve got moisture ahead,” said Don Roose, president of brokerage U.S. Commodities.

— Reporting for Reuters by Tom Polansek in Chicago; additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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