U.S. grains: Corn, soybeans tumble on good weather, fund selling

Chicago | Reuters –– U.S. corn futures dropped for a fourth straight day on Thursday, hitting the lowest point since February, as favorable Midwest crop weather bolstered expectations for a bumper harvest this autumn and triggered fund selling.

Soybean prices fell 1.5 per cent to the lowest in more than two weeks on fund selling and lower-than-expected new-crop export sales last week.

Wheat fell for the 19th time in 21 sessions and hit a three-month low on poor export demand and a generally favourable global crop outlook ahead of the northern hemisphere winter crop harvest.

Traders were rolling positions out of July contracts to deferred months, ahead of position rolling by a large fund expected to begin on Friday.

“We’re starting to see some profit taking and some position moving ahead of the roll, and we’re seeing some people exit the market,” said Karl Setzer, analyst with MaxYield Cooperative.

“The market’s trying to find a weather issue, not just in the United States but anywhere around the world, and it’s just not there,” he said.

The large long position held by commodity funds in both corn and soybeans made them susceptible to fund selling.

Chicago Board of Trade July corn fell 7-1/4 cents, or 1.6 per cent, to $4.49 a bushel, the contract’s lowest since Feb. 14 (all figures US$).

CBOT July soybeans shed 22 cents, or 1.5 per cent, to $14.60-1/2 a bushel. Selling accelerated as the contract broke below its 50-day moving average around $14.73-1/2.

USDA reported U.S. old-crop corn export sales last week at the high end of trade expectations at 550,700 tonnes, but new-crop sales were below forecasts at 19,600 tonnes.

Old-crop soybean export sales totalled 41,300 tonnes, within trade expectations. But new-crop sales of 230,500 tonnes were well below forecasts for 500,000 to 750,000 tonnes.

CBOT July wheat fell 8-3/4 cents, or 1.4 per cent, to a three-month low of $6.05-3/4 a bushel.

Commodity funds sold an estimated net 7,000 corn contracts, 5,000 soybean contracts and 2,000 wheat contracts, trade sources said.

Analytics firm Informa Economics updated its U.S. winter wheat production estimates at midmorning, pegging production at 1.396 billion bushels — down 100 million from its previous estimate — but the data garnered little reaction in the futures market.

U.S. wheat is facing stiff competition from rival exporters such as Russia and Ukraine, which have been winning much of the tender business.

“Any strength in U.S. wheat prices would largely serve to make exports from the country uncompetitive. Therefore, we expect prices to be capped unless there is a supply shock elsewhere in the world,” Societe Generale said in a report.

— Karl Plume reports on ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Nigel Hunt in London.

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