Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn futures fell about one per cent on Monday on position squaring ahead of crop reports due this week from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) along with forecasts for generally favourable planting weather in the Midwest, analysts said.
Soybean futures also declined while wheat closed higher, rallying on bargain buying after the benchmark Chicago Board of Trade May wheat contract fell to its lowest level of 2021.
A firmer dollar hung over the markets, in theory making U.S. grains less competitive globally.
CBOT May corn settled down 5-3/4 cents at $5.46-3/4 per bushel (all figures US$). CBOT May soybeans ended down 7-1/2 cents at $13.93 a bushel after dipping to $13.83, the contract’s lowest level since March 2.
CBOT May wheat finished up 3-1/2 cents at $6.16-3/4 a bushel, bouncing after a drop to $6.07-1/4, its lowest since Dec. 22.
Corn and soybean futures were pressured by outlooks for mostly warm and dry conditions in the Midwest as farmers begin spring field work.
“CBOT corn and soybean futures traded lower on forecasts for above-normal temperatures across the Corn Belt during (first-half) April, which could contribute to a timely start to U.S. corn and soybean planting,” Dan Cekander, president of DC Analysis, wrote in a client note.
Analysts expect U.S. growers to increase their plantings of both crops this spring compared to a year ago, in response to strong export and domestic demand that lifted prices to multi-year highs in recent months.
USDA is scheduled to release its annual U.S. planting intentions and quarterly grain stocks reports on March 31.
Commodity funds hold sizable net long positions in CBOT corn and soybean futures, leaving both markets prone to long liquidation ahead of the two crop reports, which have a history of making waves in the futures market.
“Traders are rather cautious ahead of (the USDA report) publication,” French analyst Agritel said in a note.
— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago; additional reporting by Colin Packham in Canberra and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.