* Corn down for 4th day, falls to lowest since February
* Soybeans drop 1 percent on low export sales, good weather
* Wheat resumes downward slide ahead of winter crop harvest (Updates with closing prices, fund selling totals)
By Karl Plume
CHICAGO, June 5 (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 percent 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 favorable 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 percent, to $4.49 a bushel, the contract’s lowest since Feb. 14.
CBOT July soybeans shed 22 cents, or 1.5 percent, 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 percent, 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.
Pct Chg Net Chg Close 1Cc1 CORN JUL4
456.25 1Sc1 SOYBEANS JUL4
1482.5 1SMc1 SOY MEAL JUL4
496.5 1BOc1 SOYBEAN OIL JUL4 38.64
39.25 1Wc1 WHEAT SRW JUL4
614.5 1RRc1 ROUGH RICE JUL4 14.075
14.225 BL2c1 M.WHEAT EUR NOV4 191
191.25 CLc1 LIGHT CRUDE JUL4 102.49
102.64 .DJI DJ INDU AVERAGE 16836.11 0.59
16737.53 XAU= GOLD
1242.8 .BADI BALTIC EXCH DRY 977
959 .DXY US DOLLAR INDEX 80.341
80.663 (Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore, Nigel Hunt in London; Editing by David Goodman, Tom Brown and Marguerita Choy)