U.S. grains: Corn sinks to contract lows

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn futures fell to new contract lows for the third straight day on Thursday as lower-than-expected weekly export sales and abundant supplies weighed on the market.

Soybeans also declined on disappointing weekly U.S. Department of Agriculture export sales data and as improving crop weather in Brazil raised prospects that the world’s top soy exporter would produce another bumper crop.

Export sales of both commodities this season are lagging the pace needed to reach the latest full-year export forecasts, partly due to stiff competition from South American shipments.

“The export sales were a bit of a disappointment and the fact that we didn’t have any private sales announced is also hanging over this market,” said Brian Hoops, president of Midwest Market Solutions.

USDA said net U.S. old-crop corn export sales last week fell to 949,500 tonnes, below trade expectations for at least 1.2 million tonnes.

Net old-crop soybean sales of 1.1 million tonnes were at the low end of a range of trade estimates.

Widespread rains across northern and southern Brazil over the next two weeks are expected to boost recently planted crops there, forecasters said. Some areas of Argentina’s crop belt are also expected to receive rains following early season dryness that have delayed planting, they said.

Chicago Board of Trade December corn fell 1-3/4 cents to $3.36-1/2 a bushel after posting a contract low of $3.36-1/4 (all figures US$). It was the lowest price for a most-active corn contract in a year.

CBOT January soybean futures shed 4-1/4 cents to $9.72 a bushel, declining for the third time in four days.

Winter wheat futures ended narrowly mixed and lost ground to Minneapolis spring wheat contracts on intermarket spreading.

Strong competition in export markets following a record Russian wheat crop and a firmer U.S. dollar hung over the market. A stronger dollar raises costs for those buying U.S. wheat with other currencies.

Egypt’s state grain buyer GASC bought 240,000 tonnes of Russian wheat in a snap tender that attracted fewer offers than normal and no U.S. wheat offers.

CBOT December soft red winter wheat futures 1-1/2 cents to $4.21-1/2 a bushel while December hard red winter wheat shed 3/4 cent to $4.17 a bushel. Minneapolis December spring wheat futures rose 5-1/2 cents to $6.30-1/4.

— Karl Plume reports on agriculture and agribusiness for Reuters from Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in Paris.

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