U.S. grains: Corn hits contract low ahead of big harvest

(FIle photo by Allan Dawson)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade corn futures fell to contract lows for the fifth straight session on Tuesday on technical selling linked to the approaching harvest of a bumper U.S. crop, traders and analysts said.

CBOT wheat futures also notched life-of-contract lows before reversing slightly higher on bargain buying while soy prices were narrowly lower for the second straight day.

Global grain and soy supplies were ample and the trend remained downward even as some importers took advantage of the low prices, the dealers said.

Exporters sold 226,000 tonnes of U.S. corn to Mexico and 198,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, while Egypt bought 295,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia and Ukraine in a tender in which no U.S. supplies were offered.

CBOT December corn settled down 2-1/4 cents at $3.48-3/4 per bushel (all figures US$). CBOT December wheat firmed 1-3/4 cents to $4.29-3/4 after hitting a lifetime low of $4.22-1/2.

Corn and wheat on continuous charts each fell to the lowest since December

“Corn charts made a new contract low with all momentum down,” ED+F Man Capital analyst Charlie Sernatinger said in a client note, adding that U.S. farmers continued to sell supplies out of storage ahead of the harvest of a new crop.

CBOT November soybean futures eased four cents to $9.37-1/4 per bushel, edging lower after USDA late on Monday unexpectedly boosted condition ratings for the U.S. soy crop.

USDA on Monday said 61 per cent of the soybean crop was in good to excellent condition, up from 60 per cent last week.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters expected soy ratings to stay steady. USDA said 62 per cent of the U.S. corn crop was in good to excellent condition, unchanged from last week.

Investors were beginning to square their positions ahead of the three-day U.S. Labor Day holiday weekend, and short-covering ahead of the weekend could provide support to prices, said Price Futures Group broker Jack Scoville.

“We’re just consolidating,” Scoville said. “No one wants to take a short home because some weather might develop.”

Tropical Storm Harvey rainfall halted port loadings at wheat terminals in Texas, and the storm could delay corn and soy harvest in the Mississippi River Delta region later this week.

There was a small chance frost could develop in the northern Plains, which could damage corn plants there, agriculture meteorologists said.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Colin Packham in Sydney.

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