U.S. grains: Corn hits contract lows on supply pressure

(Allan Dawson photo)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade corn futures fell to contract lows on Friday, pressured by technical selling and abundant global grain supplies ahead of another bumper U.S. harvest, traders and analysts said.

Soybean futures also eased, declining from Thursday’s two-week high as investors took profits ahead of final data from the annual Farm Journal Midwest Crop Tour that came out after the close of trading.

Advisory service Pro Farmer, a division of Farm Journal Media, projected a record-large 2017 U.S. soybean crop of 4.331 billion bushels, based in part on the crop tour. Scouts found smaller soy pod counts in the top three growing states of Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota.

Pro Farmer predicted the U.S. corn harvest at 13.953 billion bushels. Pro Farmer’s corn and soy forecasts were both below U.S. Department of Agriculture’s outlooks from Aug. 10.

CBOT December corn settled 2-3/4 cents lower at $3.53-1/2 per bushel, up slightly from the earlier contract low of $3.52-1/2 (all figures US$). Corn on a continuous chart fell to the lowest level since January and dropped 3.4 per cent for the week in the fifth consecutive weekly decline.

“Pre-weekend profit-taking is the primary cause of the weakness in today’s trade,” MaxYield Cooperative analyst Karl Setzer said in a client note.

Some U.S. farmers were delivering corn and soybean supplies remaining from last year to make room in grain bins for the new crop. The increased farmer selling further weighed on corn after prices climbed modestly in the previous session.

“It’s the end of the crop year and farmers are cleaning out bins,” Advance Trading analyst Brian Basting said.

CBOT November soybeans were down two cents at $9.44-1/2 per bushel but still rose 0.8 per cent for the week, the first weekly gain in a month.

CBOT December wheat finished up 3/4 cent at $4.35-1/4 per bushel but eased about 1.7 per cent for the week.

Weekly U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released after the close of trading stated that speculative investors increased their net short or bearish positions in corn, soy and wheat in the trading week that ended on Tuesday.

— 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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