Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn futures jumped on Tuesday as concerns about slow planting progress helped fuel a rebound from sharp losses the previous session, while soybean futures tumbled on increased imports into the U.S.
Weather took centre stage for the corn market as traders worried rains may prevent farmers from making progress in the fields next week after low temperatures delayed the start of planting.
“The thought is that whatever doesn’t get planted here in the next five days may have to be planted around puddles,” said Jim Gerlach, president of A/C Trading.
Chicago Board of Trade May corn rose 7-3/4 cents, or 1.6 per cent, to $4.96-1/4 a bushel after sinking 1.3 per cent on Monday (all figures US$). Technical buying helped propel gains after the market closed lower during the previous four sessions, traders said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in a weekly report issued after the markets closed Monday, said six per cent of the corn crop was planted, below the nine per cent expected by analysts and the average of 14 per cent for that time of year.
The slow start did not ignite a stronger rally because massive farm machinery allows growers to plant crops quickly once conditions improve, traders said. The first report on soybean planting is expected next week.
CBOT May soybeans dropped 19 cents, or 1.3 per cent, to $14.79-3/4 a bushel on expectations that increased imports of soybeans and soymeal will ease tight U.S. supplies.
“I think the goal of the market is to bring imports into the U.S.,” said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities. “That’s happening both with meal and soybeans.”
Easing concerns about U.S. soy supplies caused some investors to unwind bull spreads they had built up while pushing the front-month soybean contract to a nine-month high last week. The front-month CBOT soybean contract has given up 2.2 per cent of its value so far this week, its biggest two-day loss since March 12.
Commodity funds bought an estimated 12,000 contracts and sold 7,000 soybean contracts and were even in wheat.
CBOT May wheat rose 4-3/4 cents, or 0.7 per cent, to $6.73/bu., in a turnaround from steep losses and spillover support from the corn market, traders said. The front-month contract on Monday closed down 3.3 per cent, the biggest single-session slide in more than a year, on expectations of beneficial rainfall.
— Tom Polansek reports on ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Colin Packham in Sydney and Gus Trompiz in Paris.