U.S. grains: Rain outlook pushes corn higher

(Bob Nichols photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn futures rose two per cent on Monday, supported by concerns that rain around the U.S. Midwest could delay planting, traders said.

Corn planting has gotten off to a fast start this year, but rains will likely push farmers from the fields.

“We are going to be slowing down planting this week, as three separate systems of rain are due to course across the face of the Midwest, bringing one to three inches of rain this week,” Charlie Sernatinger, global head of grain futures at ED+F Man Capital, said in a note to clients.

Soybeans also rose, supported by short covering after falling sharply on Thursday and Friday. Wheat closed higher, following the rally in corn.

All three commodities closed below session highs as profit taking pulled prices from their peaks.

Rains in southern areas of the U.S. Midwest and the Delta this week are expected to slow fieldwork, with isolated flooding predicted in certain parts of the region, Commodity Weather Group said in its morning forecast.

Chicago Board of Trade May corn futures settled up 5-1/4 cents at $3.77 a bushel (all figures US$). Prices had fallen to their lowest since April 13 during the overnight trading session.

“The wet weather forecasts brought corn out of the hole early this morning,” said Greg Grow, director of agribusiness at Archer Financial Services.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture was to release its weekly crop progress report, which will show the amount of corn and soybeans that farmers have planted so far this year, later on Monday afternoon. A week ago, corn seeding was 13 per cent complete, ahead of the five-year average of eight per cent.

CBOT May soybeans were 12-3/4 cents higher at $9.99-3/4 a bushel while CBOT May soft red winter wheat was 4-1/4 cents higher at $4.71-1/4 a bushel.

Harvest delays and limited availability for soy shipments at port in Argentina contributed to massive investment-fund buying in futures during the past two weeks.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s supplemental report on Friday showed non-commercials expanded their net long in CBOT soybeans by nearly 47,000 contracts in the week to April 19, to 119,054 contracts, the biggest in nearly two years.

Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Manolo Serapio Jr. in Manila and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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