Corn Futures Sink to Multimonth Low on Better Crop Conditions

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Corn futures fell to a five-month low after wetter forecasts and an unexpected improvement in U.S. crop conditions. Soybean and wheat contracts also dropped.

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Rainy weather in the Midwest this week is expected to significantly improve moisture in corn and soybean growing states like Iowa, said MDA Weather Services. Concerns about dryness and crop stress in the western Corn Belt in recent weeks prompted some rallies in the futures market.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also eased worries about crop conditions, unexpectedly raising its corn-quality rating to 62% good or excellent as of Sunday from 60% a week earlier. The agency also said the share of spring wheat in good or excellent condition rose to 33% from 32%, with 40% of that crop already harvested. Soybeans fell to 59% good or excellent from 60%.

That increased lingering pressure on grain and soybean markets after a government report last week forecast enormous corn and soybean harvests, appearing to make little of weather issues.

September corn futures at the Chicago Board of Trade fell 2.1% to $3.55 1/4 a bushel on Tuesday, the lowest close since mid-March.

Signs of robust demand for soybeans, meanwhile, did little to support that market. The National Oilseed Processors Association said that soybean crushing in July rose above expectations. U.S. processors crushed 144.7 million bushels in July, up from 138.1 million bushels in June and above the same time last year.

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Soybean oil stocks fell to 1.558 billion pounds in July from 1.703 billion pounds last month and down from last year, NOPA said. That suggested oil usage was better than expected, said Terry Reilly, senior commodity analyst at Futures International in Chicago.

The USDA also reported private export sales of 132,000 metric tons of soybeans to China and another 132,000 tons to an unknown destination, both for 2017-18.

That didn't buttress oilseed prices, however, with traders focused on the prospect of a potential record harvest.

CBOT September soybeans fell 1.2% to $9.21 3/4, the lowest since late June, while September wheat slid 2.6% to $4.29 1/2 a bushel. That was a two-month low for the grain.

Write to Benjamin Parkin at benjamin.parkin@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 15, 2017 15:26 ET (19:26 GMT)