U.S. grains: Corn climbs on crop concerns

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago corn, soybean and wheat futures all settled higher on Wednesday on technical buying and as traders adjusted positions ahead of the U.S. Independence Day holiday.

The September corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade settled up 17-3/4 cents at $4.36-3/4 a bushel (all figures US$).

The August contract for soybeans settled up 10 cents to $8.89-3/4 a bushel, regaining some ground after falling 1.1 per cent on Tuesday.

September wheat future prices settled up 10-3/4 cents at $5.14 a bushel.

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“The past few days have been bearish for wheat and traders are going short with the holiday approaching,” said Brian Basting of Advance Trading.

CBOT grain markets will be closed on Thursday for Independence Day.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Monday pegged the condition of the corn crop at 56% good to excellent, unchanged from the previous week. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a slight improvement.

A year ago, 76 per cent of the corn crop was rated good to excellent.

On Friday, USDA surprised traders by estimating U.S. 2019 corn plantings at 91.7 million acres, higher than expected, causing prices to tumble. Analysts had been expecting the acreage report to show farmers had planted 86.6 million acres of corn.

Dealers said prices had recovered some ground after falling sharply during the last few days, but the mood remained bearish with harvests in the U.S. and Russia making good progress.

There remained, however, some corn and soybean crop concerns after major flooding in the U.S. Midwest delayed plantings.

“Uncertainty comes with July weather,” said Basting. “Rain and cooler temps are extra reason to be concerned this year.”

Weather forecasts are generally favorable, with no real threats on the horizon, Matt Zeller of FCStone said in a note.

Dealers noted Egypt was able to buy 60,000 tonnes of Romanian wheat at a low price earlier this week and the market’s focus had now shifted to an Algerian tender which is due to close on Thursday.

– Reporting for Reuters by Barbara Smith; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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