U.S. grains: New-crop corn sets new contract low on ideal weather

(Lisa Guenther photo)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. new-crop corn futures fell to a new contract low below US$4 a bushel on Wednesday as forecasts for nearly ideal crop weather raised expectations for record harvests.

New-crop soybean futures dropped to their lowest level since early February, while wheat futures joined corn in setting contract lows.

Traders pushed down prices ahead of the release of a monthly U.S. Department of Agriculture report on Friday that is expected to raise projections for autumn harvests.

“The report will show an increase in corn and soybean production, with traders fearing a large jump due to high crop conditions and excellent growing weather,” said Brian Hoops, president of brokerage Midwest Market Solutions.

Chicago Board of Trade December corn dropped 6-1/4 cents to $3.98 a bushel after setting a new contract low of $3.95, below Tuesday’s contract low of $4.02-3/4 (all figures US$). The front-month corn contract ended down 4-1/4 cents at $4.04 after trading as low at $4.00-3/4, the lowest price since August 2010.

Hefty supply expectations have pressured prices for seven consecutive sessions in the market’s longest slide in a year.

Corn prices may continue to grind lower for a couple of months, considering the market did not bottom out until September last year when farmers brought in a record harvest, said Tomm Pfitzenmaier, analyst for Summit Commodity Brokerage.

Corn this month is entering its critical pollination stage, a period when excessive heat and dryness can clip yields.

“The forecast could not be better for pollination,” Pfitzenmaier said.

Asian grain importers are cutting back on purchases, hoping that prices will drop even further.

Private exporters, however, still struck deals to sell small amounts of new-crop U.S. corn to Japan and to unknown destinations, according to USDA.

On Thursday, USDA is expected to report U.S. corn export sales last week were 600,000 to 1.05 million tonnes, wheat export sales of 400,000 to 635,000 tonnes, and soybean sales of 200,000 to 600,000 tonnes, analysts said.

Egypt bought Romanian wheat in a tender and none from the U.S.

CBOT September wheat slumped five cents to $5.51-1/4 a bushel, after dropping to a contract low of $5.47-3/4 under pressure from the advancing U.S. harvest. The front-month contract ended down 5-3/4 cents at $5.39-1/2 after setting a new four-year low of $5.37.

November soybeans lost 12-1/2 cents to $11.03-3/4 a bushel, after falling to a five-month low of $11.00-3/4. December soyoil sank 0.67 cents to 37.30 cents per pound after setting a contract low of 37.19 cents.

— Tom Polansek reports on agriculture and ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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