Grains: Corn falls 1%, soy drifts lower on US plantings outlook

Grains: Corn falls 1%, soy drifts lower on US plantings outlook
-A +A

CHICAGO/CANBERRA, Australia/PARIS (March 29): US corn futures fell about 1% on Monday on position squaring, ahead of key crop reports due this week from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), along with forecasts for favourable planting weather in the Midwest, analysts said.

Soybean futures also declined while wheat was mixed, finding support on bargain buying after the benchmark Chicago Board of Trade May wheat contract fell to its lowest level of 2021.

A firmer dollar hung over the markets, in theory making US grains less competitive globally.

As of 12:44 p.m. CDT (1744 GMT), CBOT May corn was down 7 cents at US$5.45-1/2 per bushel. CBOT May soybeans were down 3-1/2 cents at US$13.97 a bushel, after dipping to US$13.83, the contract's lowest level since March 2.

CBOT May wheat was up 1-3/4 cents at US$6.15 a bushel, bouncing after a drop to US$6.07-1/4, its lowest since Dec 22.

Corn and soybean futures were pressured by outlooks for warm and dry conditions in the Midwest over the next 10 days, as farmers begin spring field work.

"CBOT corn and soybean futures traded lower on forecasts for above-normal temperatures across the Corn Belt during (first-half) April, which could contribute to a timely start to US corn and soybean planting," Dan Cekander, president of DC Analysis, wrote in a client note.

Analysts expect US growers to increase their seedings of both crops this spring, compared to a year ago, in response to strong export and domestic demand that lifted prices to multi-year highs in recent months.

The USDA is scheduled to release its annual US planting intentions and quarterly grain stocks reports on March 31.

Commodity funds hold sizable net long positions in CBOT corn and soybean futures, leaving both markets prone to long liquidation, ahead of the two crop reports which have a history of making waves in the futures market.

"Traders are rather cautious ahead of (the USDA report) publication," French analyst Agritel said in a note.