U.S. grains: Crop expectations spark sell-off in corn, soy futures

Bleak export prospects sink CBOT wheat

CBOT December 2020 corn with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages. (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters –– U.S. corn and soybean futures posted sharp declines on Tuesday, with the market focused on expectations for bumper yields across the U.S. Midwest this fall due to forecasts for rain in key growing areas, traders said.

On a continuous basis, corn futures dropped to their lowest level since June 29 while soybean futures hit their lowest level since July 15. Benchmark CBOT December corn futures hit a contract low.

Wheat futures also sank, with the most active Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat contract shedding 2.4 per cent to its lowest since July 8, on bleak export prospects.

“Globally, there is plenty of wheat in the world,” said Mark Schultz, chief market analyst at Northstar Commodity. “We just kind of pick up the scraps on sales.”

For corn and soybeans, commodity brokerage StoneX’s forecast for a U.S. corn harvest of 15.32 billion bushels and a soybean harvest of 4.496 billion bushels weighed on the markets.

The U.S. Agriculture Department’s weekly crop conditions report on Monday afternoon, which rated 72 per cent of the U.S. corn crop as good to excellent and 73 per cent of the soybean crop as good to excellent, bolstered expectations for massive production.

Chicago Board of Trade December corn futures settled down 8-1/4 cents at $3.20-1/4 a bushel (all figures US$). CBOT November soybean futures dropped 14-1/2 cents to $8.81-3/4 a bushel.

“For the beans, it can’t get any better than this,” Charlie Sernatinger, global head of grain futures at ED+F Man Capital, said in a note to clients. “Record-high ratings, rains in the east last week cutting down the dry areas, forecasts of rain for western Iowa next week, cool temperatures. It’s soybean heaven.”

CBOT September soft red winter wheat was down 12-3/4 cents at $5.08-1/4 a bushel.

MGEX spring wheat and K.C. hard red winter wheat hit new contract lows across the board.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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