U.S. grains: Corn jumps in trading against wheat

Reuters — U.S. corn futures jumped to a 10-1/2 week high on Monday, lifted by trades that simultaneously bought the grain and sold wheat, after last week’s report on supplies by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Chicago wheat slipped, while soybeans rose to their highest since Sept. 23 on short-covering and gains in soymeal.

USDA on Friday said U.S. wheat stocks as of Sept. 1 were the biggest since 1987, while corn supplies were smaller than expected.

On Monday, USDA also reported increases in export inspections for corn and soybeans from the previous week, with a drop for wheat.

“We know we’ve sold a lot of corn, a lot of beans,” said Bill Gary, president of Commodity Information Systems in Oklahoma City. “The key is going to be whether we can maintain this pace.”

Traders were selling wheat and buying corn or soybeans in spread trades, he added.

The Chicago Board of Trade’s nearby December corn contract gained 2.8 per cent, or 9-1/4 cents, to $3.46 a bushel (all figures US$).

The contract touched $3.47-3/4, the highest for a nearby contract since July 19. It got a boost from more short-covering after Friday’s weekly U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission report showed funds expanded their net short in corn.

The European Commission on Monday slashed its estimate of this year’s European Union maize harvest for the second month in a row.

In Friday’s crop report, USDA said 1.738 billion bushels of corn were in storage on Sept. 1, below analysts’ expectations.

Chicago most active December wheat gave up 1.7 per cent or 6-1/2 cents, to trade at $3.95-1/2 a bushel.

USDA’s larger-than-expected Sept. 1 stocks estimate pressured wheat, said John Ulrickson, a broker at market advisory service Money Farm in North Dakota.

Most active November soybeans gained 2.2 per cent, or 19 cents, to $9.73 a bushel, helped by technical buying and short-covering.

After markets closed, USDA’s weekly update on U.S. crop progress estimated the corn and soybean harvest at 24 per cent and 26 per cent complete respectively as of Sunday. Analysts’ estimates of harvest progress ranged from 22 per cent to 28 per cent for soybeans and from 23 per cent to 30 per cent for corn.

— Rod Nickel is a Reuters correspondent covering the agriculture and mining sectors from Winnipeg. Additional reporting for Reuters by Julie Ingwersen and Michael Hirtzer in Chicago, Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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