U.S. grains: Corn rises on technical buying, planting switch

(Dave Clark photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Reuters — U.S. corn futures rose on Monday, lifted by technical buying and thoughts that farmers may shift some plantings to soybeans.

Soybeans eased on technical selling and slowing export demand, while Chicago wheat finished unchanged after a late round of short-covering.

The Chicago Board of Trade’s July corn contract added 3-1/4 cents to $3.94 a bushel (all figures US$).

Corn gained as traders reversed previous spread trades that were long soybeans and short corn, following technical trading factors, said Roy Huckabay, executive vice-president of The Linn Group in Chicago.

Signs of strong export demand also helped corn, traders said.

The U.S. Agriculture Department reported a sale of 128,000 tonnes of corn to South Korea for delivery during the 2015-16 marketing year. USDA also said weekly export inspections of corn totaled 1.111 million tonnes in the week ended Thursday, in line with market forecasts.

After markets closed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly crop progress report pegged U.S. corn and soybean planting as of Sunday at 75 and 36 per cent complete respectively, slightly less advanced than expected on average.

U.S. spring wheat sowing was 89 per cent done, also slightly behind expectations.

Chicago July wheat futures rallied late on short-covering to end unchanged at $4.74-3/4 a bushel.

The grain had come under pressure earlier on better crop conditions.

“We just continue to hear about improving crops in other parts of the world,” said Mike Krueger, president of The Money Farm in Fargo, N.D. “And I think there is the general attitude that the U.S. hard red winter wheat crop is probably getting a bit larger as well (with) pretty ideal weather to finish.”

UkrAgroConsult on Monday raised its forecast for Ukraine’s 2016 wheat harvest to 21.5 million tonnes from 19.8 million.

Chicago’s most active soybean contract eased 1/2 cent at $10.64-1/2 a bushel.

Private analytics firm Informa Economics on Monday estimated U.S. corn area at 93.4 million acres, below the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s forecast on March 31 of 93.601 million acres, trade sources said.

The firm estimated the U.S. soybean area at 83 million acres, above the USDA prediction of 82.2 million acres, the sources said.

Some traders expect the USDA’s June 30 acreage report could show a shift of one million to two million acres from corn into soybeans, compared with the government’s March 31 planting intentions report.

Rod Nickel is a Reuters correspondent covering the agriculture and mining sectors from Winnipeg. Additional reporting for Reuters by Mark Weinraub in Chicago, Nigel Hunt in London and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.



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