U.S. corn futures fell 2.4 per cent on Wednesday, with the benchmark contract hitting its lowest level in more than five months after a bearish acreage outlook was released by an influential private forecaster, traders said.
Soybeans dropped nearly two per cent, extending a sell-off spurred by signs that the firm export demand that has buoyed the market for the past few months may be softening. Falling crude oil prices also pressured the soy complex.
The weakness in corn spilled over into the wheat market, which had started the day firm due to signs of rising demand.
Private analytics firm Informa Economics raised its 2013 U.S. corn acreage forecast to 99.026 million acres, which would be the most since 1936. The raised acreage view came despite sluggish demand for corn from importers and ethanol producers.
"That is definitely what we are keying off of," said Brian Hoops, president of Midwest Market Solutions. "We were unable to sustain any of these gains after the Informa numbers that came out today weighed on our markets."
CBOT March corn settled down 17 cents at $7.03 a bushel. New-crop December corn was down 9-1/2 cents at $6.13-1/2 a bushel, hitting a one-month low during the session (all figures US$).
CBOT March wheat which traded as high as $8.22-3/4 a bushel early in the session, ended down 5-1/2 cents lower at $8.05-3/4 a bushel and dropped below the 200-day moving average.
Soybeans fell for the second consecutive session, extending declines spurred by China’s cancellation of purchases of U.S. supplies.
CBOT January soybeans fell 29 cents to $14.37 a bushel. The contract slipped below its 30-day moving average.
"Soybeans are still suffering from the impact of signs that demand is fading as illustrated by China’s canceled purchases on Tuesday," said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.
China, the world’s largest consumer of soybeans, canceled a contract to purchase 300,000 tonnes of U.S. supplies, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Tuesday, adding that another 120,000 tonnes sold to unknown destinations — which traders believe are buyers from China — were also scrapped.
Egypt’s GASC, the government’s wheat buyer, said on Wednesday morning it bought 180,000 tonnes of U.S. soft red winter wheat as part of a tender announced on Tuesday afternoon.
Separately, the U.S. Agriculture Department said that private exporters reported the sale of 110,000 tonnes of U.S. hard red winter wheat to Egypt.
"U.S. wheat has become more competitive into wider markets," said Rabobank analyst Graydon Chong. "It is starting to work into places like Egypt."
— Mark Weinraub covers the grain futures markets for Reuters in Chicago.