U.S. futures for corn delivered after the autumn harvest fell one per cent on Thursday, the sixth consecutive decline, as favourable weather across the U.S. Corn Belt should help the newly sown crop.
Wet weather, which had delayed spring planting of corn, was now being viewed as positive for crop growth and development, potentially boosting yields and offsetting any loss of acres to later-sown soybeans.
Good crop weather also weighed on new-crop soybean futures, although losses there were limited by concerns that rain and wet soils would further delay completion of soybean planting, including the seeding of “double-crop” soybeans on recently harvested soft red winter wheat fields.
Spot corn and soybean futures posted modest gains on solid demand for the limited supply of both commodities remaining from the drought-hit 2012 harvest.
Trading was light as investors were squaring positions and moving to the sidelines ahead of two closely watched USDA reports. On Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will issue reports on U.S. grain stocks and planted acres.
The reports have triggered sharp price movements in three of the past four years.
“There’s quite a bit of positioning today ahead of the reports. The soybean crush demand continues to be strong, so you’re seeing old-crop gaining on new-crop,” said Brian Basting, an analyst with Advance Trading.
“In corn, there is at least a perception of crop conditions holding pretty good. That’s enough to put pressure on the December (new-crop) contract,” he said.
Warm weather and scattered showers over the next two weeks in the U.S. Midwest will boost growth and development of the newly seeded corn and soybean crops, although western areas were slightly drier than eastern areas, an agricultural meteorologist said on Thursday.
“Overall, corn and soybean yield potential will remain quite high given the expected pattern,” said Joel Widenor, meteorologist for Commodity Weather Group.
Chicago Board of Trade July corn rose 2-3/4 cents, or 0.4 per cent, to $6.67-1/4 per bushel while December fell 5-1/2 cents, or one per cent, to $5.38-1/2 a bushel, a 1-1/2 week low (all figures US$).
The new-crop corn contract has fallen nearly six per cent during its six-session slide.
CBOT July soybeans rose 14-1/4 cents, or 0.9 per cent, to a two-week high of $15.48-1/2 a bushel. New-crop November soybeans shed 3/44 cent to $12.75-1/4 a bushel.
Good wheat yields
The advancing U.S. winter wheat harvest and numerous reports of larger than expected yields weighed on wheat futures, sending prices down for a sixth straight session.
A Reuters poll of 11 analysts on Thursday indicated the U.S. winter wheat production prospects for 2013 were inching upward from USDA’s forecast in June.
“I’ve been hearing yields (are) better than expected, even the ones expecting only five bushels (per acre) are talking about getting 10 to 15,” said Arlan Suderman, analyst for Water Street Solutions.
Suderman increased his production estimate for hard red winter wheat by 25 million bushels and soft red by 20 million from his previous estimate.
CBOT July wheat eased 3-1/2 cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $6.63-1/2 a bushel, the lowest level for a spot contract since early April. The spot contract has declined more than six per cent over the past six sessions.
— Karl Plume reports for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Sam Nelson in Chicago.