U.S. grains: Corn limit-down on profit-taking, bearish USDA data

Chicago soybeans, wheat follow

CBOT July 2021 corn with Bollinger (20,2) bands. (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn futures fell more than five per cent on Thursday on profit-taking after recent multi-year highs and follow-through selling, a day after the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast larger-than-expected domestic stocks, analysts said.

Soybean and wheat futures fell sharply, also retreating from multi-year highs. “Today is all about a long overdue correction in an overbought market,” StoneX chief commodities economist Arlan Suderman said in a client note.

Chicago Board of Trade July corn settled down its daily 40-cent limit at $6.74-3/4 per bushel. July soybeans ended down 58-1/2 cents at $15.84 a bushel and CBOT July wheat fell 28-1/4 cents to settle at $7.01-1/2 a bushel.

Corn posted the biggest declines on a percentage basis a day after USDA projected corn stocks at the end of the 2021-22 marketing year at 1.5 billion bushels, above most analysts’ expectations and up from 1.257 billion expected to remain at the end of 2020-21.

The figure eased concerns about tightening grain supplies that had helped lift CBOT July corn to $7.35-1/4 last week, the highest on a continuous chart of the most-active corn contract since March 2013.

“Obviously the USDA’s forecasts carry considerable weight,” said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy, at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. However, he added, “Much of the market though views these numbers as optimistic.”

Commodity funds hold sizable net long positions in CBOT corn and soybean futures, leaving the markets prone to bouts of long liquidation.

Additional market pressure stemmed from a cracked bridge over the Mississippi River near Memphis that prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to halt vessel traffic on a portion of the waterway crucial for shipping grain and soy by barge to export terminals at the Gulf.

The Coast Guard on Thursday reported 44 vessels with 709 barges being delayed. “We’re still in a holding pattern regarding when that section of the river will reopen,” Mike Steenhoek of Soy Transportation Coalition said in the a statement.

Wheat was pressured by news that Russian agriculture consultancy SovEcon raised its forecast for Russia’s 2021 wheat crop by one million tonnes, to 81.7 million tonnes, citing a larger-than-expected harvest area.

Also, forecasts called for beneficial rains into next week in the southern U.S. Plains winter wheat belt that could bolster yield prospects.

— Reporting for Reuters by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago; additional reporting by Nigel Hunt in London and Colin Packham in Canberra.

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