Chicago / Reuters – U.S. corn futures fell for the third day in a row on Thursday, with good weather for crop development in the U.S. Midwest and poor exports pushing prices to their lowest in nearly two years.
Wheat and soybean futures firmed. The soy market was supported by signs that overseas buyers were looking to the United States to fill gaps caused by shortfalls in the Argentine crop, traders said.
Short-covering and technical buying pushed wheat higher after the market failed to take out contract lows hit on Wednesday.
The latest U.S. weather view calls for high temperatures currently hovering over the Corn Belt to quickly moderate, with some beneficial rains also in the mix for the weekend.
“Right now they are focusing on mostly normal temperatures after this heat rolls through, which is only going to last two to three days,” said Jim Gerlach, president of A/C Trading in Fowler, Indiana. “Most areas should be just fine.”
Chicago Board of Trade December corn futures settled down 3-1/2 cents at $3.40-3/4 a bushel. The most active contract bottomed out at $3.39-1/4 a bushel, its lowest since Oct. 20, 2014.
“The benign midday weather updates kept the market under pressure into the close,” ED&F Man Capital said in a note to clients. “The uniformity of the crop this year keeps above trend yield potential intact.”
A weekly U.S. Agriculture Department report said that old-crop corn export sales came in at 345,100 tonnes in the seven days ended July 14, down from 667,777 tonnes a week earlier, and new-crop sales of 506,300, down from 687,843 tonnes. The old-crop figure was below market forecasts. New-crop corn export sales were in line with expectations.
New-crop soybean export sales totalled a bigger-than-expected 1.002 million tonnes, sharply up from 547,046 tonnes a week earlier. Old-crop soybean sales were 325,000 tonnes.
CBOT November soybeans ended up 3-1/2 cents at $10.12-1/2 a bushel.
The contract struggled to hold support above its 100-day moving average, which it briefly rallied through before retreating from session highs. It closed below that key technical point for the first time since March 3 on Wednesday.
CBOT September soft red winter wheat closed up 4-3/4 cents at $4.17-3/4 a bushel.
Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris; Editing by James Dalgleish and Chizu Nomiyama