* Wheat hits lowest since late Feb after firm start
* USDA crop ratings expected to be bearish for corn, soybeans (Updates with closing prices, adds new quote)
By Mark Weinraub
CHICAGO, June 16 (Reuters) – Chicago Board of Trade corn futures dropped 1.3 percent on Monday on expectations of a robust U.S. harvest this fall due to good crop weather across the U.S. Midwest, traders said.
“Weather remains highly beneficial for new crop development,” Sterling Smith, futures specialist at Citigroup in Chicago, said in a research note. “The long fund position has shrunk over the last five weeks and as long as the weather in the U.S. stays as it is there should be some liquidation.”
Good weather also weighed on soybean futures, while wheat sank to its lowest since Feb. 27 on spillover weakness from corn as well as slow export demand.
Analysts were expecting a U.S. Agriculture Department report on Monday afternoon to show good-to-excellent ratings for the U.S. corn crop at 75 percent, matching the highest mid-June rating of the last 20 years.
“For most areas, the rainfall activity that we have been seeing has been pretty beneficial for the corn and bean development, that’s for sure,” said David Streit, meteorologist with Commodity Weather Group. “It’s hard to come up with any issues as far as the corn and beans are concerned.”
The benchmark CBOT July corn futures contract settled down 6 cents at $4.41 a bushel. Prices firmed early in the session but ran into technical resistance near the 10-day moving average. Support was seen at the four-month low of $4.39-1/2 hit late last week.
CBOT July soybeans were 4 cents lower at $14.21-3/4 a bushel. New-crop November soybeans eased 4-1/4 cents to $12.17 a bushel.
Analysts were expecting the weekly USDA crop conditions report on Monday afternoon to show that 74 percent of the crop was rated good to excellent, the highest on record for mid-June.
The National Oilseed Processors Association said that U.S. processors crushed a larger-than-expected 128.824 million bushels of soybeans in June.
“The crush pace has been very strong this year but planting has been good and new-crop export business has been pretty quiet so far, so there is nothing particularly bullish about U.S. beans,” said Brett Cooper, senior manager for markets at FCStone Australia.
Chicago Board of Trade July soft red winter wheat was 5 cents lower at $5.81 a bushel.
Wheat firmed early in the trading session but turned lower after USDA said weekly export inspections of the grain were just 396,437 tonnes, below the low end of trade forecasts. RIC
Change Change 1Cc1 CORN JUL4
447 1Sc1 SOYBEANS JUL4
1425.75 1SMc1 SOY MEAL JUL4
467.9 1BOc1 SOYBEAN OIL JUL4 39.52 -0.48 -0.19
39.69 1Wc1 WHEAT SRW JUL4
586 1RRc1 ROUGH RICE JUL4
14.51 BL2c1 M.WHEAT EUR NOV4 187.75
187.25 CLc1 LIGHT CRUDE JUL4 106.86 -0.05 -0.05
106.91 .DJI DJ INDU AVERAGE 16782.
.BADI BALTIC EXCH DRY
906 .DXY US DOLLAR INDEX
80.47 -0.13 -0.106
80.576 In U.S. cents, benchmark contracts, except EU wheat (euros) and soymeal (dollars). CBOT wheat, corn and soybeans per bushel, rice per hundredweight, soymeal per ton and soyoil per lb. (Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore, Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris, and Julie Ingwersen; Editing by Diane Craft)