Goldman Lowers Price Forecasts for Corn, Soy, Wheat


Investment bank Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) said it lowered its price forecasts for corn, soybeans and wheat, citing larger-than-expected U.S. March 1 grain stocks data issued last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In a note to clients, Goldman said it lowered its three-month price forecast for Chicago Board of Trade corn futures to $6.50 per bushel from $7.50 previously. Goldman's changes came after USDA on Thursday reported U.S. March 1 corn stocks at nearly 5.4 million bushels, far above the average trade estimate of about 5 million bushels.

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"For corn, this release implies very weak feed/residual demand, although livestock data suggests that 2012 corn production may have been underestimated,'' Goldman said.

"Although we expect U.S. corn grind for ethanol to increase in coming months, today's data and continued weak net exports imply that U.S. 2012/13 corn ending stocks will remain at a comfortable 900 (million bushels) level,'' the bank said.

The bank also lowered its six- and 12-month price forecasts for corn to $5.25 from $6, citing the higher old-crop stocks, expectations for large U.S. 2013/14 corn acreage and ``normalizing weather across the Midwest.''

For CBOT soybeans, Goldman lowered its three-month price forecast to $13.50 a bushel from $14. The bank cut its six- and 12-month soy price forecasts to $12.50 from $13.

USDA last week reported March 1 U.S. soybean stocks at 999 million bushels, topping a range of trade estimates for 905 million to 984 million.

"The larger soybean stocks ... imply that the 2012/13 U.S. crop was likely larger,'' Goldman said. ``These higher soybean supplies will ease the transition to the large South American export program, likely ensuring that U.S. soybean inventories remain manageably low,'' it said.

Goldman made the biggest cuts in its price outlooks for CBOT wheat, cutting its three-month forecast to $6.50 from $7.80 and its six- and 12-month forecasts to $6.25 from $7.80.

USDA reported March 1 wheat stocks at 1.234 billion bushels, at the high end of trade expectations.

"The higher stocks point to weak feed demand last quarter.We expect wheat to continue trading near parity with corn,'' Goldman said.