U.S. grains: Corn jumps as rains seen stalling U.S. planting progress

Chicago/Reuters – U.S. corn futures rose for a second straight session on Tuesday on a slower-than-average start to planting in the United States and forecasts for Midwest rains that will stall further progress.

Soybean prices retreated after hitting a three-week high in the previous day as government data showed a faster-than-expected pace of new crop plantings.

“The trade has been really active selling beans and buying corn because of the planting numbers,” said Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics in Atchison, Kansas.

“This wetter, colder weather pattern is probably bringing in some covering of the (spread) positions, buying back the corn and selling out of the beans,” he said.

The actively traded Chicago Board Of Trade July corn contract gained 6-1/4 cents, or 1.7 percent, to close at $3.71-3/4 a bushel, with buying speeding up as the contract climbed above its 200-day moving average. New-crop December corn rallied above its 50-, 100- and 200-day moving averages.

July soybeans fell 6-3/4 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $9.65 a bushel while new-crop November also retreated.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated U.S. corn planting at 17 percent complete as of Sunday, well behind last season’s pace of 28 percent and slightly below the five-year average of 18 percent.

Soybean planting, however, was estimated at 6 percent complete, ahead of a 3-percent average for the crop that is normally seeded after corn in the Midwest farm belt.

Forecasts for rainy weather and colder temperatures in the coming days are likely to keep corn planting behind the average pace which may ultimately shift more acres into soybeans, analysts said.

“Some rain is expected in U.S. planting regions and a lot of risk to plantings remains in the next couple of weeks. But the markets today do not seem to be focusing on the risk,” said Matt Ammermann, commodity risk manager at INTL FCStone in London.

U.S. wheat futures rose, led by the spring and hard red winter wheat contracts, as a weakening dollar raised hopes for better U.S. export demand. Slower-than-normal planting further supported spring wheat.

The dollar fell to a fresh 5-1/2-month low against a basket of major currencies, raising the buying power of some importers.

CBOT July wheat rose 7-3/4 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $4.27 a bushel while July KC hard red winter wheat added 10-1/2 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $4.24-3/4. July spring wheat futures were 13 cents higher at $5.44-1/2 per bushel, a 2.4-percent gain.

– Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Michael Hogan in Hamburg

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