U.S. grains: Corn futures set two-month low as improved weather hits U.S. Midwest

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Chicago | Reuters – Chicago corn futures had a dismal close on Wednesday and touched a two-month low as analysts said U.S. crop weather was not threatening, while wheat and soybean prices also eased.

The Chicago Board of Trade’s (CBOT) most-active corn contract settled down 11 cents, or 2.7 percent, at $4.10 a bushel. The December contract traded to its lowest price since May 24.

The weather outlook for the Midwest is generally favorable, with slightly below-normal temperatures ideal for reproductive corn and soybeans, although pockets of unfavorable dryness persist in the corn belt, according to a daily U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) weather report.

“There is just nothing new to report on when it comes to the grain markets,” said Joe Christopher, merchandiser with Crossroads Co-op. “The market is just tired at this point.”

He added that the market is waiting for the USDA to release its acreage report with updates on how many corn and soybean acres were planted, after heavy rains delayed plantings this spring.

“We could see some surprises with the August 12th USDA report,” said Christopher.

U.S. and Chinese negotiators wrapped up a round of trade talks on Wednesday without visible signs of progress.

The White House and China’s Commerce Ministry each described the meetings in Shanghai as constructive but offered differing views about Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural goods.

China, the world’s biggest soybean importer, imposed retaliatory tariffs on shipments from the United States as part of the countries’ trade war last year, slowing American exports.

“China is going to need to buy more than a few cargos for the market to actually move,” Christopher said.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned China against waiting out his first term to finalize any trade deal, saying if he wins re-election in the November 2020 presidential contest, the outcome could be no agreement or a worse one.

The most active CBOT soybean contract settled down 15-1/4 cents, or 1.8 percent, at $8.81-1/2 a bushel. November soybeans hit their lowest price since June 11.

CBOT’s most active wheat contract was down 10 cents, or 2.2 percent, at $4.87-1/4 a bushel and set its lowest price in more than a week.

A heat wave in the European Union’s main wheat producing region last week helped farmers make rapid progress with harvesting, with some crop forecasts being increased.

– Additional reporting by Nigel Hunt in London and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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