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Corn hits two-week lows on light rain totals

06/10/2013 @ 3:25pm

U.S. corn futures settled at a more than two-week closing low Monday, as lighter-than-expected weekend rain in parts of the Corn Belt damped concerns about planting delays for the crop.

Chicago Board of Trade July corn settled down 16 1/4 cents or 2.4% at $6.50 a bushel, the lowest settlement for the front-month contract since May 21.

December corn, a contract that represents supplies to be harvested this fall, fell 12 1/2 cents or 2.2% to $5.46 a bushel.

Over the weekend, substantial rain fell in much of the western Corn Belt, but showers mostly skipped over key areas including eastern Iowa, southeastern Minnesota, and parts of Illinois. That fueled expectations that farmers in those areas will be able to fit in some corn planting before showers come again midweek. Greater planting would lead to a bigger harvest this fall, so futures fell on increased expectations for supplies.

"Rains this past weekend resulted in some additional planting delays in the far northwestern Midwest and northeastern Plains, while drier weather in Eastern areas much of the weekend allowed any remaining planting there to progress well," forecasters at MDA Weather Services said in a note to customers. "Drier weather in the southwestern Midwest and northern Delta this week will allow any remaining planting to progress well there."

Corn prices have been volatile in recent weeks, particularly for the December contract, as traders have reacted to changes in weather forecasts.

"On Friday, the bulls ran prices up on the fear of additional soaking rain. Today, the bears are flexing their might on the drier-than-expected weekend," advisory firm AgResource Co. said in a note to customers. "The abrupt back-and-forth nature of this weather market is frustrating to any trend-following trader."

Corn also fell on lower-than-expected export shipments of the grain. Officials inspected or weighed for export 6.365 million bushels of corn in the week through Thursday, the USDA said Monday. Analysts had expected 7 million to 12 million bushels.

Soybean futures also fell on the lighter-than-expected rains in the Midwest. Wet weather has also raised worries about delayed planting for soybeans, and greater chances for farmers to seed crops point to a likely larger harvest this fall.

Soybeans were also pressured by the prospect that some farmers facing severe planting delays for corn could switch to plant soybeans instead.

Corn and soybean traders will watch for the U.S. Department of Agriculture at 4 p.m. EDT to release its weekly crop progress report, which will include estimates of how much of the U.S. corn and soybean crops had been planted as of Sunday.

July soybean futures fell 16 1/2 cents or 1.1% to $15.11 3/4 a bushel, a one-week low.

Wheat futures were pulled lower by the declines in corn, as the two grains are direct substitutes in animal feed. But concerns about planting delays for spring wheat in North Dakota prevented wheat from falling as sharply as corn.

CBOT July wheat futures fell 6 1/2 cents or 0.9% to $6.89 3/4 a bushel, a two-week closing low. KCBT July wheat fell 9 cents or 1.2% to $7.26 a bushel. MGEX July wheat fell 8 1/4 cents or 1.0% to $8.11 1/2 a bushel.


Write to Owen Fletcher at owen.fletcher@dowjones.com
Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 10, 2013 15:06 ET (19:06 GMT)
DJ U.S. Corn Hits Two-Week Closing Low on Light Rain->copyright


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