U.S. grains: Corn up as crop ratings ease

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago corn futures rose for a second straight day on Tuesday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the condition of U.S. crops deteriorated last week following rain, although gains were pared late in the session on improving weather.

Soybeans turned lower on forecasts for a window of warmer and drier weather that could accelerate planting by some Midwest farmers, potentially boosting supplies this autumn.

Wheat futures eased as drier weather in parts of the Midwest and Plains could accelerate winter crop harvesting.

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Corn and soybean traders remain focused on U.S. weather following historic rains this spring that stalled seeding of both crops.

Updated forecasts suggest farmers may have a chance to plant more soybean acres this week ahead of the next wave of storms.

“This small patch of nice, warm weather has led some farmers to think about planting the rest of their soybeans,” said Terry Reilly, senior commodities analyst at Futures International.

In its U.S. crop conditions report after the market close on Monday, USDA said 96 per cent of corn is planted as of Sunday and 77 per cent of soybeans. At the same point last year, all U.S. corn acres and 93 per cent of soybeans were planted.

“It’s a possibility that the remaining four million acres of corn left may not be planted,” said Karl Setzer, market analyst with Agrivisor.

USDA also rated 56 per cent of the U.S. corn crop in good-to-excellent condition, down from 59 per cent last week and behind market expectations of 59 per cent.

Some 54 per cent of U.S. soybeans were seen in good-to-excellent condition, below expectations of 59 per cent.

Chicago Board of Trade July corn futures ended 3/4 cent higher at $4.47-1/2 a bushel (all figures US$). CBOT July soybeans fell 5 1/2 cents to $9.03-1/2 a bushel.

Markets were underpinned by some optimism that the U.S. and China may move toward resolving a year-long trade war when the two countries’ leaders meet at the G20 summit in Japan later this week. But expectations for a trade breakthrough were low.

“It’s certainly a wild card,” said Reilly, adding that it is likely that no resolutions will come of it.

Easing U.S. winter wheat conditions and worries about a heat wave in western European crop areas including France and Germany supported wheat prices early in the session before late selling on improving harvest weather.

USDA said 61 per cent of U.S. winter wheat was in good-to-excellent condition, down from 64 per cent last week.

CBOT September wheat fell 2-1/4 cents to $5.35-3/4 a bushel after earlier touching a one-week high.

Reporting for Reuters by Barbara Smith in Chicago; additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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