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Corn Prices Tumble As Supply Outlook Improves In Top Exporters

Published on Jun 22 2016 8:02 AM in Fresh Produce tagged: Corn / Brazil / USA

Corn Prices Tumble As Supply Outlook Improves In Top Exporters

Corn futures in Chicago fell by the most in three years and prices slumped in São Paulo state, as the supply outlook improves in the US and Brazil, the world’s top exporters.

US rains through 26 June are seen to be aiding about half the crop in the Midwest, and the growing area is unlikely to encounter severe heat through mid-July, according to Joel Widenor, director of agricultural services at Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. In Brazil, harvesting of the country’s winter crop is picking up pace and helping to ease a supply squeeze.

“The weather patterns are taking out some of the heat, and we’re also adding a little bit of moisture [in the US],” Ryan Kelbrants, a market analyst at CHS Hedging LLC in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, said in a telephone interview. “Our crop scouts are reporting excellent conditions.”

Corn futures for September delivery on the Chicago Board of Trade fell 5.7 per cent to close at $4.0225 a bushel, the biggest loss for rolling most-active futures since April 2013. It was the largest drop for the contract since it began trading. Aggregate trading was 87 per cent higher than the 100-day average.

Futures for July, September and December delivery all declined by as much as the exchange’s 25-cent maximum on Tuesday, and limits for Wednesday trading have been expanded. Corn options volume is estimated to have reached a record, at 313,867 contracts, data compiled by Bloomberg shows.

‘Perfect’ Rains

Weather models showing rains near the end of the month pressured prices, as the precipitation is forecast to occur during the crop’s key pollination phase and reach southern areas of the growing belt, where moisture is needed, said Ted Seifried, chief market strategist at Zaner Group LLC in Chicago. The latest outlook from the National Weather Service shows above-normal rains in the southern Midwest in the six- to ten-day outlook.

“The timing of these rains is perfect,” Seifried said. Corn prices fell more sharply than soybeans because the key development phase for the oilseed occurs later in the year, he said.

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September futures climbed in each of the past six weeks, the longest streak for the contract since it started trading in December 2013. A hot start to the US growing season had raised concerns that plants would be under stress during the summer. Three quarters of the US crop was rated in good or excellent condition as of 19 June – higher than the same time last year, government data showed.

Hedge funds have been increasing net-bullish wagers on corn for the past five weeks, with holdings in the week ended 14 June at the highest in more than ten months, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data shows.

Wholesale spot-prices for corn in Campinas, São Paulo, dropped to 48.40 reais per bag ($6 a bushel), down 10 per cent from a record high on 2 June and the lowest since 25 April. The grain climbed earlier this month, as dry weather hurt plants and rising exports sparked a shortage for Brazil’s domestic consumers. As crop collection progresses, the domestic supply squeeze is easing and buyers are trying to negotiate lower prices, according to Cepea, the University of São Paulo’s research arm.

In Mato Grosso, Brazil’s corn top producer, gathering is happening at a faster pace compared with previous seasons, according to Imea, the state’s Rural Economy Institute. Approximately 10 per cent of the total winter-crop area was harvested as of Friday, the group said in a report. That was up from 5 per cent a week earlier. Domestic prices are still profitable for producers, and farmers will take advantage of selling opportunities in the coming weeks, Imea said.

News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.

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