U.S. grains: Corn nears one-week low as harvest weighs

(Allan Dawson file photo)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn futures sagged to their lowest level in nearly a week on Tuesday, pressured by the ongoing harvest and softening cash markets, analysts said.

Soybeans ended lower after a choppy, seesaw session while wheat futures firmed in a light technical bounce following a three-session sell-off.

The Chicago Board of Trade December corn contract settled down two cents at $3.49-1/2 per bushel after touching $3.48-3/4, its lowest since Sept. 27 (all figures US$).

CBOT November soybeans ended down two cents at $9.55-1/4 a bushel and December wheat rose 3-1/4 cents at $4.48 a bushel.

Corn drifted lower on supply pressure and ideas that the U.S. Department of Agriculture might raise its forecast of the U.S. 2017 corn yield in its next monthly supply/demand report on Oct. 12. The government pegged the corn yield at 169.9 bushels per acre last month.

In its weekly crop progress report, USDA on Monday said the corn harvest was 17 per cent complete, and it rated 63 per cent of the crop as good to excellent, an improvement from 61 per cent a week earlier.

Some analysts took the late-season ratings improvement as an indication of strong yields.

“The contra-seasonal increase in crop ratings… could potentially result in USDA raising their yield in upcoming production reports,” Dan Cekander, president of DC Analysis, wrote in a note to clients.

Commodity brokerage INTL FCStone late on Monday raised its forecast of the U.S. corn yield to 169.2 bu./ac., from 166.9 a month earlier. The firm also raised its forecast of the U.S. soybean yield to 49.9 bu./ac., from 49.8 previously.

Additional market pressure stemmed from softening cash values resulting from rising costs for river barges due to low water levels and the expanding Midwest harvest.

“It’s hard to see the futures market rally when the cash market is weak. Until they get some of these problems resolved and we get some rain, that is weighing as much as anything,” said Jim Gerlach, president of Indiana-based A/C Trading.

CBOT November soybean futures settled lower after trading both sides of unchanged. The contract dipped to $9.52-1/2, its lowest since Sept. 13, in early moves.

CBOT wheat futures firmed as the market tried to stabilize following a three-session slide. Plentiful U.S. supplies anchored futures after USDA last week raised its estimate of U.S. 2017 spring wheat production.

Egypt’s state grain buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities, bought 180,000 tonnes of Russian wheat in an international wheat tender.

— Julie Ingwersen is a commodities correspondent for Reuters in Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in Paris.

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