U.S. grains: Wheat, corn drop to contract lows

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat and corn futures dropped to life-of-contract lows on Monday, weighed down by technical selling and abundant global supplies, traders and analysts said.

Chicago Board of Trade September wheat futures fell about 2.4 per cent, settling down 9-1/2 cents at $4, in a bear-spreading decline as some investors dumped spot positions ahead of first notice for deliveries against the contract on Thursday (all figures US$).

More actively traded CBOT December wheat finished 7-1/4 cents lower at $4.28 per bushel. European wheat futures also fell to contract lows as the euro gained.

“For the wheat market, once again the path of least resistance is lower,” said EFG Group analyst Tom Fritz. “Last week, we tried to get a reversal on the idea the market was oversold and it fizzled.”

Wheat prices eased in Russian cash markets, under pressure from a large crop. Top global importer Egypt after the close said it was seeking global wheat offerings for October shipments.

CBOT December corn hit a contract low of $3.50-1/2 per bushel before settling at $3.51, down 2-1/4 cents.

CBOT November soybeans declined 3-1/4 cents to $9.41-1/4 per bushel, following losses in grain prices ahead of the harvest of an expected record-large U.S. soy crop.

Investment funds were net sellers of wheat, corn and soybean futures contracts, traders said. The selling would extend already sizeable net short positions after U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data on Friday showed speculative investors had increased bearish short bets last week.

Advisory service Pro Farmer last week predicted bumper U.S. soy and corn harvests that will begin hitting markets in the next several weeks.

The forecast by Pro Farmer added to a bearish tone in the wake of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s forecast on Aug. 10 for bigger-than-expected harvests.

USDA after the close of trading boosted good-to-excellent U.S. soybean crop conditions and left corn crop ratings unchanged. Analysts surveyed by Reuters had expected soy ratings to stay steady and corn conditions to increase slightly.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Colin Packham in Sydney and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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