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Corn climbs on China sales, bargain-hunting

04/25/2013 @ 10:12am

U.S. corn futures are slightly higher Thursday morning, boosted by a large Chinese purchase of U.S. corn and buying interest after recent price declines.

In electronic trading, Chicago Board of Trade futures for May delivery are up 1 cent or 0.2% at $6.40 1/2 a bushel.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday private exporters reported selling 300,000 metric tons of corn to China for delivery in the next marketing year, which starts Sept. 1. The large export sale is supporting futures prices.

The USDA also announced an export sale of 240,000 tons of corn for delivery to unknown buyers during the next marketing year. Analysts often assume that an "unknown" buyer in an export sales report is China.

In a separate weekly report, corn export sales were in line with expectations. The USDA reported net corn export sales Thursday of 335,900 metric tons in the week through April 18, including 314,700 tons for delivery in the current marketing year. Analysts had expected total net sales of 200,000 to 600,000 tons.

Corn futures are also up on concerns that futures may have become undervalued after recent price declines, as current supplies remain tight after last year's severe drought shrank U.S. corn production. May corn on Tuesday fell to a two-week closing low before rising slightly Wednesday.

Corn's gains are being limited by expectations for drier weather to allow a pickup in corn planting.

Cold, wet weather delaying planting had boosted corn futures earlier this month, since late planting can reduce yield expectations for the crop. Now, those concerns are easing on expectations for more favorable planting weather.

The National Weather Service forecasts relatively light precipitation in the next five days in the Corn Belt, with central Illinois staying dry. A quarter-inch of precipitation will fall in much of Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri.

The NWS's six- to 10-day and eight- to 14-day outlooks are mixed, with average to below-average chances of precipitation seen in the southwestern Corn Belt, including Nebraska and Iowa. Parts of Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana are seen with above-average chances of precipitation.


Write to Owen Fletcher at owen.fletcher@dowjones.com
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 25, 2013 09:58 ET (13:58 GMT)
DJ U.S. Corn Rises on China Export Sale, Bargain-Hunting->copyright

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