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China rejection fears keep lid on corn futures

12/16/2013 @ 3:43pm

Corn futures fell for the third straight session Monday on concerns that China could reject more shipments of the grain from the U.S. ahead of a scheduled visit by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Wheat also fell, while soybeans gained.

China might turn away more shipments from the U.S., the world's biggest corn grower and exporter, after already denying entry to 180,000 metric tons of the grain that contained an unapproved genetic trait. Mr. Vilsack is scheduled to travel to China with other trade representatives this week, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is expected by market watchers to discuss the GMO corn issue.

Investors also may be concerned about demand for corn from ethanol producers after a group of U.S. senators last week introduced a bill that would eliminate a mandate on the amount of ethanol that's required to be blended with gasoline.

"The bears have been emboldened by the Chinese rejection of these cargoes of corn and the bill in the Senate," said Arlan Suderman, a senior market analyst at brokerage Water Street Solutions in Wichita, Kan. "I don't see that Vilsack has any real position of strength. Obviously he'll be bringing up the GMO situation but China is going to do what China is going to do. They feel in control right now."

Corn futures for March delivery on the Chicago Board of Trade fell 2 1/4 cents, or 0.5%, to $4.23 1/4 a bushel.

Corn prices also declined as inspections of the grain for export in the week that ended Dec. 12 were below expectations. The USDA inspected 25.1 million bushels for overseas shipment last week, below the 33 million to 38 million forecast by analysts, the agency said in a Monday report.

Wheat fell on signs of slack demand for U.S. supplies as global production increases. Egypt last week bought French and Romanian wheat, shunning inventories from the U.S., the world's biggest exporter.

The USDA inspected 17.6 million bushels for export last week, down from 19.8 million in the prior seven days, according to the government.

Wheat futures for March delivery fell seven cents, or 1.1%, to $6.21 3/4 a bushel on the CBOT. The price declined on signs of rising stockpiles in the U.S. and increased global production.

Soybean futures for January delivery rose 10 1/4 cents, or 0.8%, to $13.37 3/4 a bushel in Chicago trading. The price gained on signs that China might not cancel as many shipments of the oilseed as previously thought, Mr. Suderman said. The USDA inspected 62.5 million bushels in the week that ended Dec. 12, more than the 50 million to 60 million expected by analysts.

"There were massive soybean cancellations by China last year so everybody is bracing for it, but China hasn't canceled," he said. "There are times they tend to cancel when the price is vulnerable. This year they've had opportunities but passed. They simply want the soybeans."

Write to Tony C. Dreibus at tony.dreibus@wsj.com
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 16, 2013 15:33 ET (20:33 GMT)
DJ Corn Falls Third Day on Concern China Imports May Slow -- Update->copyright

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