U.S. grains: Corn slumps on planting progress, soy up on tight supply

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn futures dropped for a fourth straight session on Monday, to their lowest level since March as periods of warm dry weather this week should accelerate planting across the Midwest after weeks of rain delays and unseasonable cold.

Soybeans rallied along with surging soymeal futures on tight U.S. supplies ahead of the autumn harvest.

Wheat eked out its first gain since May 6 on bargain buying following an eight-session slide that dragged prices down more than 10 per cent to the lowest in two months.

“The weather is keeping corn on the defensive. We have a pretty good patch of weather coming from Thursday through Sunday, and that should allow farmers to make some very, very good planting progress, particularly in Minnesota and the Dakotas,” said Sterling Smith, an analyst with Citigroup in Chicago.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly crop progress report on Monday is expected to show the corn crop was 74 per cent planted as of Sunday, according to a Reuters poll of analysts, near the seasonal average of 76 per cent for mid-May.

Chicago Board of Trade July corn fell 6-1/4 cents, or 1.3 per cent, to $4.77-1/4 per bushel, the lowest since March 11 (all figures US$). The contract failed to breach support at its 100- and 200-day moving averages of $4.76-1/4 and $4.73.

Soybeans reversed an early-session slide as soymeal futures rallied on concerns of a slowdown in crushing this summer. Supplies of U.S. soybeans were forecast to shrink to the smallest in a decade despite record soybean imports this season.

“The domestic cash bean situation is continuing to drive a slowdown in the crush, and I think that’s why meal is leading the rally,” said Roy Huckabay, an analyst with The Linn Group in Chicago.

July soybeans added 20-1/4 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $14.85-1/4 per bushel. Technical buying accelerated the rally as the contract breached resistance near the 20-day moving average of $14.77.

Wheat fell to the lowest in two months on forecasts for rains in major U.S. growing regions and fading concerns about Ukrainian political turmoil, but late-session short covering dragged futures out of the red by the close.

Managed funds had built up a rare net long position in CBOT wheat in recent weeks on concerns about a Black Sea trade disruption. But President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian military forces to return to their permanent bases after drills in three regions bordering Ukraine.

CBOT July wheat gained 1/4 cent to $6.72 per bushel. July hard red winter wheat closed a penny higher at $7.68-3/4 a bushel.

— Karl Plume reports on ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Valerie Parent and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris, Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Christine Stebbins in Chicago.


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