U.S. grains: Corn, soy futures gain on weather worries

(Allan Dawson photo)

Chicago | Reuters –– Chicago Board of Trade corn futures were higher on Tuesday, lifted by concerns that hot and dry weather could reduce yields for the U.S. harvest in the wake of government data showing deteriorating crop condition ratings, traders said.

Corn finished about 10 cents per bushel below its earlier peaks and prices remained volatile amid shifting weather models that predicted varying levels of heat and precipitation (all figures US$).

“Midday updates went back to wetter and took us well off our highs,” ED+F Man Capital analyst Charlie Sernatinger said in a note.

CBOT September corn settled two cents higher at $3.77 per bushel, off its session high of $3.88-3/4.

CBOT soybean also were higher, tracking moves in corn. CBOT wheat edged lower as investors sold winter wheat and bought MGEX spring wheat futures.

“Weather is most critical for corn and that’s the (commodity) leading the way,” Zaner Group broker Ted Seifried said. “There’s definitely some areas of concern that can have a big impact if we’re dealing with stress.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture late on Monday said 40 per cent of the U.S. corn crop was going through the silking portion of its pollination phase as of Sunday. Hot temperatures and a lack of moisture could limit yield potential for corn plants.

USDA also slashed good-to-excellent condition ratings for the corn, soybean and spring wheat crops, a move that analysts had anticipated.

“The weather outlook for the coming week is pointing toward above-average temperatures for the U.S. corn belt,” said Angus Thornton, commodity analyst at Profarmer. “In the next two weeks U.S. corn regions need widespread rains. But forecasts remain for generally hot weather with extensive rain not expected.”

CBOT August soybeans were 4-1/2 cents higher at $9.89-1/2 per bushel.

CBOT September wheat edged 2-1/4 cents lower to $5.03-3/4 per bushel and MGEX September spring wheat 13-1/4 cents higher to $7.80-1/2 per bushel. K.C. September hard red winter wheat was 3-3/4 cents lower at $5.02-3/4.

The state grain buyer for top global wheat importer Egypt said it purchased 300,000 tonnes of Russian, Romanian and French wheat.

No U.S. wheat was offered in the tender, and overall tepid global demand for U.S. supplies has anchored prices despite concerns about U.S. crop conditions, traders said.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Colin Packham in Sydney.

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