U.S. grains: Corn falls on reassuring crop progress data

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn futures fell 1.5 per cent on Tuesday, halting a two-session advance as weekly U.S. planting progress data eased concerns about rain-related delays in the Midwest, analysts said.

Soybean and wheat futures also declined, with wheat pressured by better-than-expected weekly U.S. condition ratings.

Chicago Board of Trade July corn settled down 5-1/2 cents at $3.69-1/2 per bushel (all figures US$). July soybeans ended down 8-1/4 cents at $9.48-1/4 a bushel and July wheat fell 4-3/4 cents at $4.29-1/2 a bushel.

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Corn dipped after the U.S. Department of Agriculture said late on Monday that the U.S. corn crop was 84 per cent planted, slightly behind an average of trade expectations but close to the five-year average of 85 per cent.

“If you look at a spring rainfall map in the Midwest, you have to be impressed (that) these planting numbers are as high as they are,” said Rich Feltes, vice-president for research with R.J. O’Brien.

USDA estimated that U.S. soybean plantings were 53 per cent complete, above the five-year average of 52 per cent.

“Both corn and soybean sowings showed reasonable progress last week despite the worries about wet weather disrupting work,” said Matt Ammermann, commodity risk manager at INTL FCStone.

The CBOT July corn contract set back after reaching $3.77-1/2 on Monday, its highest since May 2.

Traders await USDA’s first corn condition ratings for the season, which the government expects to release in its next weekly crop progress report on May 30.

Soybean futures drew underlying support from a USDA announcement that private exporters in the last day sold 126,000 tonnes of old-crop U.S. soybeans to unknown destinations.

CBOT wheat futures declined after the USDA rated 52 per cent of the U.S. winter wheat crop as good to excellent, up from 51 per cent a week earlier.

Analysts on average had expected a decline, given wet conditions in the southern Plains and Midwest that raised concerns about yield prospects and grain quality.

“Wheat condition is also shown by the USDA as pretty decent, again not confirming some earlier fears about the impact of rain,” Ammermann said.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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