Chicago | Reuters — U.S. grain and soybean futures touched their lowest prices in weeks on Tuesday as power outages and damage to export facilities from Hurricane Ida stoked concerns about the potential for extended disruptions to shipments, analysts said.
Uncertainty over the length of facility closures at the Gulf Coast, which accounts for about 60 per cent of U.S. exports, rattled markets at a time when global grain supplies are tight and demand from China is strong.
Grain trader ADM is not finding significant structural damage to elevators and port operations it closed in New Orleans, but power remains out in the area, according to a statement.
Elsewhere in Louisiana, Ida damaged a Cargill grain export elevator while CHS warned a facility may lack power for weeks.
“There’s plenty of uncertainty about the Gulf,” said Jim Gerlach, president of brokerage A/C Trading. “Nobody knows if it’s something that’s going to last for days, weeks or months.”
Most-active soybean futures fell 10-3/4 cents to $12.92-1/2 per bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade and touched their lowest price since Aug. 20 (all figures US$).
Corn slid 8-1/2 cents to $5.34-1/4 per bushel and set its lowest price since July 12. Wheat slipped 1-1/4 cents to $7.22-1/4 per bushel and hit its lowest price since Aug. 2.
Crop shipments are being rerouted from the Gulf of Mexico where possible following the hurricane, said Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist for broker StoneX. However, there is “no inventory to speak of at other facilities to ship ahead of this year’s harvest,” he said.
Suderman still predicted no “appreciable lost export demand as a result of the current shutdown.”
U.S. corn and soybean supplies are set to increase as farmers begin harvests in the coming weeks.
“Better weather will help finish the soybean crop,” said Tomm Pfitzenmaier, analyst for Summit Commodity Brokerage.
In other action, traders adjusted positions on the last day of the month, brokers said.
— Reporting for Reuters by Tom Polansek in Chicago, Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.