Chicago | Reuters – U.S. corn futures firmed on Friday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture lowered its U.S. yield and harvest forecasts in a monthly crop report, though gains were kept in check by worries about weak demand.
Soybeans fell as the USDA left its U.S. crop yield and harvest outlooks unchanged despite poor weather this summer and fall that had many market observers expecting cuts.
The forecast, in a monthly USDA crop supply-and-demand report released at midsession, added to earlier pressure stemming from renewed concerns about an interim U.S. trade deal with China.
Wheat briefly traded higher in tandem with corn but retreated as the USDA’s cuts to U.S. and southern hemisphere production were more than offset by larger crops in the EU and Black Sea region.
The USDA forecast corn production of 13.661 billion bushels, down from 13.779 billion a month earlier. The outlook was based on an average yield of 167.0 bushels per acre (bpa), down from 168.4 previously. End-of-season U.S. corn stocks were trimmed to a still-abundant 1.91 billion bushels while exports were lowered by 50 million bushels.
The agency pegged the soy crop at 3.550 billion bushels, with yields seen at 46.9 bpa, unchanged from October.
“There’s nothing in this report that’s friendly to the corn at all,” said Brian Hoops, president of Midwest Market Solutions.
“We were negative going into the report and so now we’re seeing a little bit of a relief bounce. But from a longer term standpoint, there’s very little reason to think that corn is going to begin an up-trend in this market.”
Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) December corn ended up 2 cents at $3.77-1/4 a bushel, the first price increase in seven sessions. But for the week, the contract fell 3.1%, its steepest drop in nine weeks.
January soybeans fell 5-1/2 cents to $9.31 a bushel, ending down 0.6 percent for the week, the third weekly drop in four weeks.
CBOT December wheat dropped 2-1/4 cents to $5.10-1/4 a bushel. The contract was down 1.1 percent in the week, a third straight weekly drop.
Renewed concerns about an interim U.S.-China trade deal weighed on the market ahead of the report, particularly soybeans.
President Donald Trump on Friday said he has not agreed to rollbacks of U.S. tariffs sought by China, sparking fresh doubts about when the world’s two largest economies may end a 16-month trade war that has slowed global growth.
– Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore