Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn futures fell to a two-week low on Monday on expectations of strong harvest progress in the Midwest and inter-market spreading against soybeans, traders said.
Soybean futures closed firm on follow-through buying after a smaller-than-expected U.S. government crop estimate last week but pared gains by the close. Wheat posted modest declines after a choppy session.
Trade was subdued, with most U.S. government offices closed for the federal Columbus Day holiday.
At the Chicago Board of Trade, benchmark December corn settled down two cents at $3.80-3/4 per bushel, after falling to $3.80-1/4, its lowest since Sept. 24 (all figures US$).
November soybeans closed up 1-3/4 cents at $8.87-1/2 a bushel while December wheat fell 2-1/2 cents at $5.06-3/4 a bushel.
Corn futures fell on inter-market spreads and a pick-up in the U.S. harvest pace. Farmers are expected to turn their attention to corn in the coming days, after a stretch of warm and mostly dry weather in the Midwest helped speed soybean harvest progress.
“I’d suspect that up here in Minnesota, we will be 50 per cent harvested on corn by the end of the week… On beans, you can basically call that done,” said Mark Schultz, analyst with Northstar Commodity in Minneapolis.
The U.S. corn harvest was 27 per cent complete and soybeans were 42 per cent complete by Oct. 4, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with the next weekly progress report due on Tuesday.
CBOT soybeans climbed in early moves after USDA on Friday lowered its monthly domestic soybean crop estimate to 3.888 billion bushels, below an average of trade estimates.
“I don’t see a lot of fundamental support other than a boost from Friday,” said Brian Hoops, senior analyst with Midwest Market Solutions, adding that light support stemmed from hopes of fresh U.S. sales to top soy buyer China.
CBOT soybeans came off session highs as the USDA’s forecast for a record-large global soy crop in 2015-16 hung over the market.
CBOT wheat futures sputtered amid reminders of strong competition for export business.
Egypt’s state grain buyer, the world’s biggest importer of wheat, bought 180,000 tonnes of Russian and Romanian wheat in a tender on Friday.
Saudi Arabia was thought to have bought European wheat in a tender for 740,000 tonnes on Monday.
— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago.