U.S. grains: Corn slides as record harvest nearly complete

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. grain and soybean futures fell on Tuesday, with corn tumbling 1.5 per cent to cap off its biggest three-day slump in nearly two months as investors took profits and record-large corn and soybean harvests neared completion.

Chicago Board of Trade corn futures slid for the third straight session while wheat fell for the second day. Each contract declined after hitting three-month highs last week. Soybeans reversed from gains earlier in the session.

“When the market breaks like this, it tells me that buyers have enough for now,” said Dave Fogel, a broker at Advance Trading.

Record export demand for soybeans and soymeal and strong domestic demand for corn from ethanol producers limited the declines, while bitter cold in the U.S. could damage emerging wheat plants.

“We’ll find good support from end users and funds defending their long positions,” Jefferies Bache analyst Shawn McCambridge said of the corn pit. “I just don’t see heavy sellers coming into this market.”

CBOT December corn finished 5-1/2 cents lower at a one-week low of $3.72 per bushel and January soybeans were off 13 cents at $10.23-1/4, a decline of 1.2 per cent (all figures US$).

CBOT December wheat fell 2-3/4 cents to $5.49 after the contract had its best week last week in two years.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said after the close of trading on Monday that the corn harvest was 89 per cent complete and the soy harvest 94 per cent complete, with cuttings of each crop mostly on pace with recent years after a slow start.

The corn harvest lagged in the northern Corn Belt states of Michigan, Wisconsin and portions of Minnesota, where snowfall could delay the final phases of fieldwork for another three to four weeks, agricultural meteorologists said.

“Despite those three places, harvest is essentially over,” Fogel said.

In wheat-growing regions in the U.S. Plains, colder-than-normal conditions could persist for the next 10 days before normal temperatures return, the Commodity Weather Group said.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on crop commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago.

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