* Corn lower on hopes for planting progress this week
* New-crop corn and soy contracts higher as spreads unwind
* May soy contract soars ahead of expiration
* Wheat little changed; Black Sea weather eyed
(Adds closing prices, farmer comment)
By Julie Ingwersen
CHICAGO, May 14 (Reuters) - Chicago Board of Trade corn
futures fell on Tuesday on profit-taking and expectations that
U.S. farmers will make significant planting progress this week,
"There is some optimism with planting progress," said Ken
Smithmier, analyst at the Hightower Report in Chicago.
"We have a well-advertised storm system moving in by late
this week. The farmer is well aware of that, and he is going to
try to get as much done as he possibly can until he starts
seeing raindrops on the windshield," Smithmier said.
Bruce Rowher, a producer from Paullina, Iowa, who is
president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, concurred.
"It's pretty frantic in our area as everyone is pushing hard
to get as much planted before the next round of precipitation,"
Rohwer wrote in a planting update Tuesday.
At the CBOT, most-active July corn ended down 3 cents
at $6.52-1/2 per bushel and July soybeans settled down
4-1/2 cents at $14.14-3/4 a bushel.
Wheat edged higher while staying inside of Monday's trading
range. CBOT July wheat ended up 1 cent at $7.10-3/4 a
On Wall Street, stocks rose to record highs on hopes that
steady U.S. economic growth will extend their stellar run, while
the strengthening dollar curbed the appetite for oil and gold.
Both corn and soybeans retreated after hitting chart-based
resistance levels. The benchmark July soybean contract
fell back from a six-week high set early in the session.
However, new-crop November soybeans ended higher as
traders exited long July/short November spread positions,
following the midday expiration of CBOT May contracts.
The July soy contract gained against November for most of
this month, supported by strong cash markets, dwindling supplies
of old-crop U.S. soybeans and the absence of deliveries against
the May contract.
Ahead of its expiration Tuesday at 12:01 p.m. CDT (1701
GMT), May soybeans surged to $15.45 a bushel, the highest
spot soybean price on a continuous chart since Nov. 2. The
contract pared gains to settle at $15.24-1/2.
After May expired, traders took profits on July/November
soybean spreads as well as July/December corn and soymeal
"The feeling was that once the May went off the board, you
can relax that stuff for a bit. I think everybody believes the
May was going to be biggest as far as fireworks for this year,"
said Charlie Sernatinger of ED&F Man Capital in Chicago.
The CBOT has reported no deliveries of soybeans, corn or
soymeal so far during the May delivery cycle, a sign that
commercial grain handlers see more value in selling into the
firm cash market than in delivering against futures.
Uncertainty about the impact of planting delays in the U.S.
Corn Belt continued to underpin the market. The U.S. Department
of Agriculture late Monday said U.S. farmers had seeded only 28
percent of their corn, the slowest pace on record, amid wet and
Soybean planting was 6 percent complete, a 29-year low. The
five-year average pace is 24 percent for soybeans and 65 percent
"Crop concerns have re-emerged and will remain in the
forefront over the next fortnight or so," said Luke Mathews, an
analyst at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. "The current slow
pace signals that it needs to be virtually perfect over the next
couple of weeks to bridge the gap."
Drier weather early this week in the U.S. Midwest should
boost fieldwork before more showers develop late on Wednesday
and continue into the weekend, with the heaviest rain in the
Planting worries helped corn rebound on Monday from losses
on Friday when a USDA report containing its first full
projections for 2013/14 forecast a bigger-than-expected recovery
in U.S. corn stocks on the back of a record harvest.
Wheat markets ended modestly higher after a choppy session,
underpinned by expectations of fresh U.S. exports and concerns
about dry weather in the Black Sea region.
A growing concern is dry weather in Russia and Ukraine,
where analysts and forecasters say grain yields will suffer if
rain does not return in the next few days.
"The USDA is far too optimistic about the Black Sea crops.
They're above the top end of trade estimates," a European trader
said, referring to forecasts in Friday's USDA world report.
In its weekly crop progress report, USDA said 32 percent of
the U.S. winter wheat crop was rated in good to excellent
condition, unchanged from the previous week.
Prices at 3:02 p.m. CDT (2002 GMT)
LAST NET PCT YTD
CHG CHG CHG
CBOT corn 652.50 -3.00 -0.5% 0.9%
CBOT soy 1414.75 -4.50 -0.3% 18.0%
CBOT meal 411.80 -3.30 -0.8% 33.1%
CBOT soyoil 49.76 0.15 0.3% -4.5%
CBOT wheat 710.75 1.00 0.1% 8.9%
CBOT rice 1536.50 -6.50 -0.4% 5.2%
EU wheat 210.00 -0.25 -0.1% 3.7%
US crude 94.20 -0.96 -1.0% -4.7%
Dow Jones 15,215 124 0.8% 24.5%
Gold 1425.01 -5.04 -0.4% -8.9%
Euro/dollar 1.2934 -0.0041 -0.3% -0.1%
Dollar Index 83.5870 0.3100 0.4% 4.3%
Baltic Freight 872 -7 -0.8% -49.8%
(Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen
Thukral in Singapore; editing by Jim Marshall, Sofina Mirza-Reid
and Peter Galloway)