U.S. grains: New-crop corn hits fresh low on big crop outlook

Chicago | Reuters — New-crop U.S. corn futures set a contract low for the eighth consecutive session on Thursday as mild weather increased expectations for bumper crops, while new-crop soybeans dropped to a six-month low below US$11 a bushel.

Prices fell ahead of the release on Friday of a U.S. Department of Agriculture report that is expected to raise the government’s outlook for corn and soy production and ending stocks.

The markets have “nothing long-term to encourage even short-term gains” amid expectations for an increase in supplies, said Rich Feltes, vice-president of research for broker RJ O’Brien. Weather conditions are favourable for the autumn harvests and farmers are accelerating sales of corn in storage from last year’s crops, he said.

Analysts expect USDA will increase its estimate for U.S. corn production to 13.945 billion bushels from 13.935 billion in June and peg soybean production at 3.774 billion bu., up from 3.635 billion last month.

“Tomorrow’s report can’t offer much hope for the bulls,” said Sterling Smith, futures specialist for Citi.

Chicago Board of Trade December corn ended down 5-1/4 cents at $3.92-3/4 a bushel after setting a contract low of $3.91-1/2, below Wednesday’s contract low of $3.95 (all figures US$).

The contract has tumbled 12 per cent since the USDA, in a quarterly report on June 30, said U.S. corn stocks as of June 1 were 3.5 per cent larger than analysts expected.

CBOT November soybeans slid 10-3/4 cents to $10.93 a bushel after falling earlier in the session to $10.92-1/4 a bushel, the lowest since January 31. The contract has lost 11 percent since the USDA said on June 30 that soy stocks and plantings were bigger than expected.

CBOT September wheat dipped 2-3/4 cents to $5.48-1/2 a bushel, having dropped to a contract low of $5.46-1/4 a bushel earlier in the session on poor export demand and pressure from the U.S. harvest.

USDA on Thursday said U.S. wheat export sales last week were 338,100 tonnes, below expectations for 400,000 to 635,000 tonnes. Corn export sales of 744,600 tonnes were within expectations for 600,000 to 1.05 million tonnes, and soybean export sales of 582,700 tonnes were within expectations for 200,000 to 600,000 tonnes.

Separately, USDA said private exporters struck deals to sell 118,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to top-importer China for delivery in the new marketing year, which will start on Sept. 1.

— Tom Polansek reports on agriculture and ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Naveen Thukral and Gus Trompiz.

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