CBOT corn limit likely to move to 40 cents a bushel

The CME Group made it clear at a meeting on Tuesday that the exchange would go ahead with plans to raise the daily trading limits on corn futures despite strong opposition from many grain-handling companies.

The CME’s request to raise the trading limit to 40 cents from the current 30 cents is under review by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) until Aug. 8. Industry comments to the CFTC are to end on Wednesday but the CME said it was accepting comments until Aug. 8.

Following a spirited discussion at the Chicago Board Of Trade (CBOT), David Lehman, a CME managing director, said “from strictly an economic standpoint, the daily price limits should be based on a per cent of price, but that won’t happen now.”

The current daily trading limit for corn futures is 30 cents per bushel, expandable to 45 cents, then again to 70 cents. And CME, the world’s largest derivatives exchange, has proposed to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission that the corn limits expand to 40 cents and then to 60 cents.

CME held a feedback session in the historic CBOT building visitors gallery late on Tuesday and all corn industry participants were invited, including the media.

Charles Carey, a CME vice-chairman, told Reuters that trading limits are necessary to avoid panic and to avoid driving away business. “Corn limits are too low now compared with wheat and soybeans. The market can handle a 40-cent limit,” Carey said.

CBOT corn prices are roughly at $7 per bushel with a 30-cent limit, soybeans nearly $14 and a 70-cent limit while wheat prices at about $7 have a 60-cent per bushel limit.

CME last raised corn limits to 30 cents from 20 cents in March 2008, during another period of extremely volatile price swings when corn soared to a then record high.

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