U.S. grains: Corn sags on U.S. weather

(Dave Clark photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn futures fell more than two per cent on Monday on forecasts for mostly benign weather in the Midwest as the crop heads into its pollination phase next month, analysts said.

Corn closed near its session lows and appeared to drag down soybeans as well. Chicago Board of Trade July corn settled down 8-3/4 cents at $3.75-1/4 per bushel (all figures US$).

Wheat futures closed mixed. CBOT July wheat ended up 1-3/4 cents at $4.67 a bushel while MGEX July spring wheat fell 3-1/4 cents at $6.39-1/2, retreating after reaching $6.49-1/2, the highest spot price on a continuous chart since December 2014.

CBOT July soybeans ended down 1-1/4 cents at $9.37-3/4 a bushel.

Corn fell on outlooks for cooler temperatures in the Midwest crop belt as the crop nears pollination, a crucial yield-determining phase that usually occurs in July.

“You’re getting closer to pollination and there is really no heat in the forecast for the next two weeks. That’s the feature,” said Dan Cekander, president of DC Analysis.

After the close, the U.S. Department of Agriculture rated 67 per cent of the U.S. corn crop as good to excellent, unchanged from the previous week. Analysts surveyed by Reuters on average had expected an improvement of one percentage point following rains last week.

Also bearish was weekly data released Friday from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showing that commodity funds slashed their net short position in CBOT corn by more than 100,000 contracts in the week to June 13.

“Friday’s CFTC Commitment of Traders report showed much larger-than-expected short-covering had occurred during the week reported,” INTL FCStone chief commodities economist Arlan Suderman write in a note to clients.

CBOT wheat drew support from the early strength in spring wheat and advances in European wheat futures, which hit their highest in nearly a year on worries about the impact of a heat wave in France.

But CBOT wheat pared gains as MGEX spring wheat fell on profit-taking.

After the close, USDA rated 41 per cent of the U.S. spring wheat crop as good to excellent, down from 45 per cent a week earlier. Analysts surveyed by Reuters had expected an improvement.

Reporting for Reuters by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago, Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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