Chicago | Reuters – U.S. corn futures crept higher on Wednesday on uncertainty about unfavourable weather threatening the size and quality of delayed autumn harvests.
Traders were watching forecasts as snow and rain are expected in parts of the Corn Belt, followed by chilly temperatures. The weather could further delay autumn harvests, after rains and historic flooding stalled plantings in the spring.
“Corn will rise or fall based on the extent of damage from weather in this unusual growing season because demand remains sluggish,” Bryce Knorr, senior grain market analyst for Farm Futures, said in a note.
The most-active corn futures on the Chicago Board of Trade rose 1.1 percent to $3.90-3/4 a bushel, while soybean futures dipped 0.3 percent to $9.30-1/2 a bushel. The most-active CBOT wheat contract slipped 0.3 percent at $5.09-1/4 a bushel.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday reported the U.S. corn harvest was 41 percent complete, behind the average pace of 61 percent. Farmers had harvested 62 percent of their soybeans, below the average pace of 78 percent for this time of the year.
“Temperatures this weekend could be cold enough to finally end the growing season in parts of the eastern Corn Belt,” Knorr said.
Soybean traders were also monitoring the U.S. trade war with China, the top global importer of the oilseed.
Chile withdrew as the host of an APEC summit next month at which the United States and China had been expected to sign a “Phase One” deal to ease trade tensions.
Traders were hopeful an agreement would be signed and still seem convinced that “something’s going to get done on that Phase One,” said Tomm Pfitzenmaier, analyst for Commodity Brokerage.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said it will take time for Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural goods to “scale up” to the $40 billion to $50 billion annual level touted by Trump if the two sides can seal a Phase One trade deal.
On Thursday, traders will review weekly U.S. export sales data from the USDA.
– Additional reporting by Nigel Hunt in London and Colin Packham in Sydney