Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn futures declined for the first time in four sessions on Monday as warm weather and scattered rains across a large swath of the Midwest farm belt bolstered development of the recently planted crop.
Soybeans were mostly lower as favourable U.S. weather outweighed support from improving demand from top importer China.
Wheat futures edged higher on short-covering and technical buying after four days of losses last week took prices to 9-1/2-month lows.
Widespread rain is expected across the region this week, with the heaviest amounts in parts of Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota, among the top corn and soy states, meteorologists said. Hotter weather is expected beginning next week.
The improved near-term weather could help stabilize corn and soybean crop conditions, which analysts believe declined slightly in the past week.
“The far western corn belt was too dry, so the crop ratings probably are going down this week. But we got a shot of rain here now and the forecast maps don’t show excessive heat this week,” said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa.
Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) July corn ended down 4-1/4 cents at $3.28-1/4 a bushel, while July soybeans were down 1/4 cent at $8.76-1/4 a bushel (all figures US$). CBOT July wheat gained 3-3/4 cents to $4.85 a bushel.
Grain traders are watching for further signs of Chinese demand for soybeans and other commodities as Beijing works to fulfill its Phase One trade deal purchasing commitments.
Talks last week between U.S. and Chinese officials encouraged hopes that Beijing would continue to buy U.S. farm goods after a recent flurry of U.S. soybean purchases since the end of May.
— Reporting for Reuters by Karl Plume in Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.