U.S. grains: Corn up on weather outlook, weaker dollar

CBOT May wheat down, K.C. May wheat up

CBOT May 2021 corn (candlesticks) with 20-day moving average (yellow line) and December 2021 corn (orange line). (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn futures rose on Monday, flirting with multi-year highs set last week, as forecasts for frosty weather and precipitation raised concerns about the pace of planting and germination, analysts said.

A weaker dollar lent support, theoretically making U.S. grains more competitive globally.

Soybeans followed corn higher, but wheat was choppy, turning lower on profit-taking after reaching a six-week top.

Chicago Board of Trade May corn settled up 6-1/2 cents at $5.92 per bushel, hovering near last week’s high of $6.01-1/2, the highest on a continuous chart of the most-active corn contract since June 2013 (all figures US$).

CBOT December corn, representing the 2021 crop, set a life-of-contract high at $5.21-3/4 before finishing at $5.20-1/4.

CBOT May soybeans ended up 16-1/2 cents at $14.49-3/4 a bushel.

Corn rose as traders focused on U.S. crop weather, with sub-freezing temperatures expected across most of the Plains and the Midwest this week along with some snow and rain. Meanwhile, dry conditions persist in the northern Plains.

“There is enough concern in here, with Chinese (corn) imports being what they are, to keep the corn market fairly well bid right now,” said Sterling Smith, director of agricultural research with crop insurer AgriSompo North America.

After the CBOT close, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the U.S. corn crop was eight per cent planted, matching the five-year average but just behind the average estimate in a Reuters analyst poll for nine per cent.

USDA said soybean planting was three per cent complete, ahead of the five-year average of two per cent and in line with trade expectations.

USDA rated 53 per cent of the U.S. winter wheat crop in good to excellent condition, unchanged from the previous week. Analysts on average had expected a decline of one percentage point.

CBOT May wheat settled down 1/4 cent at $6.52-1/4 a bushel, retreating after reaching $6.60-3/4, its highest since March 8.

But K.C. hard red winter wheat futures rose on worries about the Plains cold spell. K.C. May wheat closed Monday at $6.12, up 2 3/4 cents.

“Wheat prices are… firmer on solid export shipments combined with increased weather risks,” Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist at StoneX, said in a client note.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago; additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg.

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