Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade corn and soybean futures were mixed on Tuesday as traders adjusted positions ahead of key U.S. reports on crop plantings and inventories.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday is expected to increase its estimate for corn plantings by about three per cent from March, according to a Reuters poll of analysts. Soybean plantings are seen up 1.5 per cent from March.
Still, traders remain nervous about the risk for hot or dry weather to hurt yields when grain stocks are slim.
Analysts expect USDA on Wednesday will report corn and soybean inventories on June 1 were down 17 and 43 per cent from a year earlier, respectively.
“The problem is that little rain is in the forecast for the dry areas and too much rain is in the forecast for the areas that are already too wet,” said Tomm Pfitzenmaier, analyst for Summit Commodity Brokerage.
CBOT December corn futures, which represent the crop that will be harvested this fall, settled 1-1/4 cents higher at $5.48-1/2 a bushel (all figures US$). November soybeans were flat at $13.12-1/2 a bushel, while September wheat slipped 5-1/4 cents to $6.46-1/4 at the CBOT.
MGEX spring wheat futures finished lower after hitting their highest price in more than eight years amid concerns about drought in the northern U.S. Plains hurting harvests, traders said.
In Canada, farmers expanded canola plantings this spring to cash in on record-high prices, according to new acreage estimates released Tuesday from Statistics Canada. However, Prairie drought threatens to scorch those crops.
“Hot weather is a real and a longer-term concern,” said Ole Houe, director of advisory services at brokerage IKON Commodities in Sydney.
USDA, in a weekly report on Monday, rated 64 per cent of the U.S. corn crop in good to excellent condition, down one percentage point from the prior week and below analysts’ expectations. Just 20 per cent of spring wheat was rated good to excellent, below a week earlier and analysts’ expectations.
— Reporting for Reuters by Tom Polansek in Chicago, Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.