U.S. grains: Corn hits eight-year high

Soybean, wheat markets slump

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade corn futures hit their highest price since March 2013 on Monday on strong demand for limited U.S. supplies and concerns over dry weather hurting output in Brazil.

Traders continue to focus on tightening global inventories as U.S. farmers plant corn and soy for the autumn harvest, rather than selling crops held in storage bins.

In Brazil, the 2020-21 second corn crop is estimated at 72.7 million tonnes, compared with 77.65 million previously, according to broker StoneX.

“The corn market continues to look for a price that will uncover adequate producer selling and the farmer’s attention right now is mostly on getting the 2021 crop planted,” said Tomm Pfitzenmaier, analyst for Summit Commodity Brokerage in Iowa.

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Most-active corn futures ended up 6-1/4 cents at $6.79-1/2 per bushel, after earlier setting an eight-year high of $6.98 (all figures US$).

CBOT July wheat, meanwhile, tumbled 16-3/4 cents to $7.18 per bushel. July soybeans fell 10-1/2 cents to $15.24 per bushel, and November soybeans that represent the autumn harvest ended up five cents at $13.44-3/4 a bushel.

Traders bought new-crop November soybeans on expectations that U.S. farmers will shift some acres to corn that they had intended to plant with soy, brokers said.

As of Sunday, 46 per cent of the nation’s corn plantings were complete, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a weekly report, topping analysts’ expectations for 44 per cent. That was up from 17 per cent a week earlier and ahead of the five-year average of 36 per cent.

In Iowa, the top U.S. corn-producing state, farmers were able to plant almost half of the state’s expected corn crop during the week ending May 2, for a total of 69 per cent planted, according to USDA.

Nationwide soybean planting was 24 per cent complete, compared to analysts’ estimates for 25 per cent.

“If there are any production concerns this summer,” Pfitzenmaier said, “the new-crop soybean contract has a lot of upside potential.”

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

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