U.S. grains: Corn, soybeans sink to four-year lows as harvest advances

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn and soybean futures fell to four-year lows on Tuesday as mild and mostly dry weather across the U.S. Midwest is expected to boost the harvest of record crops.

Wheat fell in tandem with retreating corn and soy, anchored by plentiful global supplies and strong competition for export business.

Chicago Board of Trade December corn fell 4-3/4 cents, or 1.4 per cent, to $3.25-1/2 per bushel, the lowest level for a front-month contract since June 2010 (all figures US$).

CBOT November soybeans fell two cents, or 0.2 per cent, to $9.36-1/4 a bushel after hitting a low of $9.31, the lowest level for a front-month contract since June 2010.

“There are more and more reports coming in about good to exceptional corn yields in the northern half of the Corn Belt and weather is ideal for taking care of the crop maturation problem in the northern third of the Corn Belt,” said Rich Nelson, chief strategist with Illinois-based consultancy Allendale Inc.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture pegged 74 per cent of the corn crop as good to excellent as of Sunday, stable with last week and in line with analysts’ expectations.

Soybeans were pegged at 71 per cent good to excellent, down one per cent from last week. Analysts had expected the condition to remain unchanged.

Soybean maturity, indicated by leaves dropping, was pegged at 45 per cent, ahead of market expectations for 41 per cent, but below the five-year average.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said late on Monday that the corn harvest was seven per cent complete as of Sunday and the soy harvest was three per cent done, both in line with a year ago but slightly behind the five-year average.

Only light showers were forecast this week in the U.S. Midwest crop belt, which should allow farmers to make rapid progress in the corn and soy harvest, the Commodity Weather Group said in a note to clients.

CBOT December wheat shed 3/4 cent, or 0.2 per cent, to $4.76 a bushel, after ending up 0.5 per cent the previous day following news of the first U.S. wheat sale to Egypt’s state wheat buyer since March.

Mick Commadeur, a commodities trader at Emerald Grain in Melbourne, Australia, said, “There is going to have to be further U.S. export business or supply shocks to provide significant gains.”

— Karl Plume reports on ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Naveen Thukral in Singapore, Colin Packham in Sydney and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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