U.S. grains: Exports, storm damage offset big crop outlook

Corn, soy prices buck USDA forecasts; wheat rises on corn rally

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Chicago | Reuters — Chicago corn prices surged to a four-week high on Thursday as forecasts of warmer weather and worries over recent storm damage in the U.S. Midwest countered pressure from huge government harvest forecasts.

The corn rally also boosted wheat, as traders continue to debate how much impact the drought hammering Argentina’s farm belt will have on global supplies.

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Meanwhile, soybeans rose to a two-week-plus high amid brisk export demand.

The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board Of Trade closed up about 3.4 per cent at $3.38-3/4 a bushel (all figures US$). It rose to $3.40-3/4 a bushel earlier in the day, the highest since July 17.

Traders said a recent slide in corn, which led the European Union this week to re-introduce a corn import tariff, also was helping to fuel Thursday’s price rally for U.S. supplies.

CBOT soybeans settled up about 1.8 per cent to $8.99-1/2 a bushel, but earlier had climbed to $9.02-1/2 a bushel, the highest since July 27.

The U.S. Agriculture Department reported on Thursday that Chinese buyers booked deals to buy 197,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans, the seventh weekday in a row that the government has reported a sale to the world’s top buyer of the oilseed.

CBOT wheat rose about 0.8 per cent, to $4.96-3/4 a bushel.

In widely followed monthly forecasts, USDA said on Wednesday U.S. farmers would reap a record corn harvest and a second-biggest soybean crop, buoyed by favourable weather.

Selling pressure waned after prices recently dipped to multi-week lows. The market was also assessing the impact of Monday’s derecho storm, which came after the Aug. 1 cutoff point for crop conditions for the USDA report.

The storm potentially affected 10 million acres of farmland in Iowa, the top U.S. corn-growing state, according to state authorities. How much of the crop was destroyed is not known.

— P.J. Huffstutter reports on agriculture and agribusiness for Reuters from Chicago; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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