U.S. grains: Corn pulls back from five-year high

CBOT September 2019 corn with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages. (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade grain futures settled down on Monday after corn touched a five-year high and soybeans reached a one-year peak, as forecasts for rain in U.S. crop-growing areas eased concerns about hot, dry weather.

A recent warm, dry spell had fueled worries that corn could be damaged during crucial pollination stages, after unprecedented delays in planting this spring.

But in the Corn Belt, rain associated with the remains of former Tropical Storm Barry is edging into southern parts of Illinois and Missouri, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a daily weather report.

USDA separately said in a weekly report that 58 per cent of the corn crop is good to excellent, up from expectations that the rating would be down one percentage point, at 56 per cent.

September corn futures on the CBOT settled down 13-1/2 cents, or 2.8 per cent at $4.41 a bushel (all figures US$). The most actively traded contract earlier hit $4.64-3/4, the highest level since June 2014 on a continuation chart.

But the most-active contract stayed below contract highs of last month on individual September and December delivery positions.

Traders remain uncertain about the size of the upcoming harvest. Mike Zuzolo with Global Commodity Analytics said he expected corn ratings to decline in next week’s USDA condition report.

“Corn is already looking a little stressed,” he said.

Traders largely shrugged off USDA’s forecast for U.S. corn production in its monthly supply and demand report on July 11, holding out for a follow-up survey of plantings by the agency after its previous acreage estimates were viewed as too high for corn and too low for soybeans.

September CBOT wheat futures settled down 15-1/4 cents, or 2.7 per cent, at $5.07-3/4 a bushel after earlier touching their highest level in more than two weeks at $5.31-1/2.

Good to excellent spring wheat crops were down two percentage points, at 76 per cent, from 78 per cent.

August CBOT soybean futures settled down 11-1/2 cents or 1.2 per cent at $9.01-3/4 a bushel, off a $9.36-1/2 session peak that was its highest since June 2018.

The USDA report has soybean good to excellent conditions at 54 per cent, up one per cent from last week’s report.

Weather risks for soybean crops in the Midwest were being weighed against demand concerns against the backdrop of the long-running U.S.-Chinese trade dispute and pig disease in China, the world’s top soy importer.

China produced 24.7 million tonnes of pork in the first six months of 2019, down 5.5 per cent from a year earlier, according to figures from the National Bureau of Statistics. The country is fighting a severe swine fever epidemic.

Reporting for Reuters by Barbara Smith in Chicago; additional Reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Colin Packham in Sydney.



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