U.S. grains: Corn, wheat, soy tumble on acreage, stocks estimates

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. grain and soybean futures tumbled on Monday after the Agriculture Department reported higher-than-expected figures for U.S. soy plantings and June 1 corn and soy stocks.

The government reported 2014 soybean seedings at a record-high 84.8 million acres, topping a range of analyst estimates.

“The corn and bean acres are stunning,” said Mark Gold, managing partner at Top Third Ag Marketing in Chicago, adding, “This report opens up the door to the risk of significantly lower prices.”

At the Chicago Board of Trade, the most-active November soybean contract, representing the 2014 U.S. harvest, ended down 70-3/4 cents at $11.57-1/4 per bushel, after touching a four-month low of $11.51-1/2 (all figures US$).

December corn lost 22 cents to $4.25-1/4 after setting a life-of-contract low at $4.23-1/2. CBOT September wheat sank 16-1/4 cents to $5.77-1/2 per bushel.

November soybeans are likely headed toward $10 to $10.50 a bushel and could drop below $9.25 during the autumn harvest if favourable weather continues to benefit crops, said Terry Reilly, senior commodity analyst for Futures International in Chicago.

December corn is likely headed toward the $3.25 to $3.75 range, he said, adding he expected above-average yields.

USDA confirmed stellar conditions for the crops in a weekly report.

For soybeans, along with the big plantings number, USDA reported June 1 stocks at 405 million bushels, above the average trade estimate of 378 million.

“The funds are caught long in a market that is fundamentally shifting to a negative,” said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Commodity funds sold an estimated net 25,000 soybean contracts and 19,000 corn contracts, traders said.

Traders sold corn after USDA reported U.S. June 1 stocks at 3.854 billion bushels, above an average trade estimates at 3.722 billion. USDA pegged 2014 corn seedings at 91.641 million acres, near its March estimate of 91.691 million.

USDA reported all-wheat plantings at 56.474 million acres, above expectations for 55.818 million.

Following the slide in wheat prices, Egypt, the world’s top importer, issued a tender to buy an unspecified amount from global suppliers. The U.S. has faced stiff competition from Black Sea exporters on the world wheat market.

For the quarter ending Monday, front-month CBOT corn dropped 15.5 per cent, the sixth quarterly slide in the last seven. Soybeans ended the quarter down 4.3 per cent.

Front-month wheat lost 19 per cent for the quarter, the biggest slide in three years as a bumper crop is expected from most major global wheat producers.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering ag commodity markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Tom Polansek in Chicago, Colin Packham in Sydney and Sarah McFarlane in London.

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